• 2020-2021 School Year FAQ

    Our FAQ was developed based on frequently asked questions from our community.

    As of May 3, 2021, all student-support categories have returned for in-person learning. All current COVID-19 protocols and procedures will remain in place until the end of the 2020-2021 year.  As the number of Pennsylvanians vaccinated increases and COVID-19 restrictions decrease, Pittsburgh Public Schools looks forward to the safe return of all students for five days a week in-person instruction this Fall.  As we plan for the return to 5 days a week for the start of the 2021-2022 school year, we will continue to be guided by the recommendations of the CDC, state and local health departments and will be prepared to pivot and adapt as needed. More information about the 2021-2022 school year will be shared over the summer.


New Student-Support Category Model

  • - How will students be prioritized to return to in-person instruction?

  • - Why was a criteria established for support categories?

  • - How did the District determine which students fall into each support category?

  • - How was the selection criteria established?

  • - How will I be notified of my child’s support category and their date of return to in-person learning?

  • - Can siblings return at the same time even though they are in different support categories?

  • - When will my child be returning to school if they are in support category 4?

  • - When will my child be returning to school if they are in support category 3?

  • - When will my child be returning to school if they are in support category 2?**

  • - When will my child be returning to school if they are in support category 1?**

  • - What if I do not want my child to return but he/she is in a support category?**

  • - What days will my child attend school?

Class of 2021

  • What safety protocols will be in place at the Petersen Events Center?

  • - Will there be in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021

  • - Will there be proms this school year?


  • - Will transportation be available for all students? **

  • -What is the District doing to address the school bus shortage? **

  • How many students need transportation in Support Categories 1 and 2?**?

  • What can families do to help get all students back for in-person hybrid learning?**

  • - How will students who ride Port Authority receive a bus pass?

  • - How will transportation to school be different?

  • - Will students riding yellow busses or vans be required to wear masks and social distance?**

  • - Will students riding Port Authority transportation be required to wear masks and social distance?

  • - Would children be able to catch a school bus rather than take Port Authority bus?

  • - Will the District continue to provide transportation to students that live in the City of Pittsburgh but attend private, parochial or charter schools? **

  • - How will the District ensure my child’s safety on Port Authority Transit?

  • - When will families receive information regarding transportation? **

  • - What if I do not want to use Yellow Bus or Port Authority transportation?

  • - Will students attending school on a PS-6 transfer receive transportation?

Food Service

  • - How will breakfast and lunch be served to students when they return to school?

  • - Are students allowed to bring food for lunch?

  • - Where will students eat?

  • - Will the cafeteria be open?

  • - How will breakfast and lunch be served to students participating in eLearning?

Building Capacity and Social Distancing

  • - Will the District change the setup of classrooms to maintain three feet clearance, per updated guidance from the CDC released, March 19, 2021?

  • - What is the max number of students per classroom?

  • - What will in-school social distancing look like?

  • - What is the distance between student desks?

  • - Will cafeterias & gym space be turned into classrooms to maintain social distancing?

Updated Parent Feedback Survey

  • - What kind of survey will be administered to families?

  • - What is the objective the parent survey?

  • - When will the survey be administered?

  • - How will the survey be administrated?

Cleaning Procedures

  • - What will be the cleaning protocol for schools?

  • - What types of EPA products will the District use?

  • - How will the District’s schools and facilities be cleaned?

  • - What social distancing practices will be enforced?

  • - Will bus companies be required to follow a cleaning protocol?

  • - What is the District doing to improve ventilation?

Health and Wellness

  • - What happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID?

  • - Will students and teachers be required to wear mask all day? **

  • - If a teacher or student tests positive, does the whole class quarantine?

  • - How will social distancing work in classrooms and hallways?

  • - How will the District handle situations when a student refuses to wear a mask or takes off a mask during instruction?

  • - Will schools have nurses available at all times?

  • - What is the plan should there be a positive COVID case in a school location?

  • - How much input/suggestions are you getting from medical professionals such as the Allegheny County Health Department or UPMC/Allegheny Health Network?

  • - What is the procedure for the students and staff when they are in the classroom and school building?

  • - Will someone be doing temperature screenings at the door?

  • - Will students and staff be required to use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the classroom, or any other public spaces?

  • - Are masks required in school for elementary children and children in early head start and prekindergarten?

  • - Is Personal Protective Equipment available for student and staff?

Physical Education, Athletics, Student Activities and Recess

  • - Will children enrolled in full time eLearning get to participate in all school activities and sports if I choose the full time eLearning option?

  • - Will students swim at school?

  • - What will gym class look like for students?

  • - How will students participate in sports?

Supports for Students with Disabilities

  • - My child has special needs requiring more support. What will be offered in terms of additional support regardless of which school option is chosen?

  • - What are you going to do about kids that have sensory disorder outlined in their IEP and can’t wear a mask due to those issues?

  • - How will students with IEPs get the right type of learning to support them at home?

  • - How will the District support students with social/emotional needs?

  • - How will students receive behavioral health services?

  • - How is social distancing going to work in the autistic support classrooms?

Early Childhood Education

  • - What additional supports are provided for early learners?

  • - How are they doing Early Childhood Pre-K when there are 20 children who need to social distance?

  • - Are masks required in school for early head start and prekindergarten?

Supports for English Language Learners (EL)

  • - My child is an English Language Learner. How will their needs be met?

  • - Will the District continue using Talking Points to communicate with EL families?


  • - What is eLearning?

  • - What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning?

  • - Is the curriculum the same in eLearning and what students will use when they return to in-school classes?

  • - What kind of professional training has occurred so that teachers were prepared to provide online instruction?

  • - Are there SPECIFIC teachers for the families who choose eLearning and separate teachers for the in-school option?

  • - Will students be able to take Advanced Placement courses online?

  • - Will all classes be recorded or will a teacher be teaching live?

  • - How is live teaching going to be offered to students in eLearning?

  • - What are the specific hours for eLearning?

  • - Will students participating in eLearning receive letter grades?

  • - Will students receive music and art education?

  • - What support will be in place for vulnerable households? For instance, a single parent with literacy issues and unable to assist their younger aged child with navigating online instructions?

  • - How does online instruction work, especially for the single parents who are still working full time hours?

  • - How will schools with major’s work?

  • - If students are in day care because parents have to work, who is going to help kids do work at specific times?

  • - What does grading look like for the 2020-2021 school year?


  • - Will the District provide all students with a device?

  • - Who is responsible for damages or broken equipment?

  • - Are cameras enabled on student devices?

  • - How will we support families that need Wi-Fi?

  • - What type of devices will each student receive?

  • - Who will help with technology challenges?

  • - Do iPads already have the programs needed installed onto them for the students, especially for Pre-k?

Parent Organizations and Volunteers

  • - Will PTOs and PTAs be permitted to hold meetings at school?

  • - Will PSCC meetings be held monthly?

  • - Can Parent Organizations continue to hold fundraisers and distribute fundraising items (subs, cookies, candy, etc.)?

Community Organizations

  • - Will students have access to before and aftercare at school?

  • - Will community partners be permitted in school?

  • - Will local providers offer free childcare?

Staff Focused

  • - Is the District making accommodations for the children of school staff who attend PPS?**

  • - When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available to teachers and staff?

  • - Is the vaccination of teachers required for the return of in-person instruction to occur?

  • - Does my health insurance coverage offered through the District cover COVID-19 testing?

  • - How can I receive coverage for COVID-19 testing if I do not have health coverage?