District Acts to Push Back Start of School to Ensure All Students Have the Tools They Need for the First Day
PITTSBURGH, August 29, 2020 – Due to unexpected delays caused by continued technology supply chain shortages across the country, Pittsburgh Public Schools will adjust the school calendar to delay the start of E-Learning for all students PreK-12 to Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The District will continue to distribute devices to families as they arrive and announce distribution dates on a rolling basis so that all students have what they need the first day of school. Up to 7,000 devices are expected to arrive by the end of next week to fulfill outstanding need.
“Similar to school districts in our region, we must delay the start of school to ensure all students have the opportunity to fully participate in E-Learning,” said Superintendent Anthony Hamlet. “At this time the distribution of devices is only for those families of students who do not have access to a device. By delaying the start of school we can ensure that no student is inequitably disadvantaged because they do not have access to the tools they need to start the school year successfully.”
School staff will utilize next week to create and refine lesson plans, review Individualized Education Plans of special education students, contact hard to reach families and participate in grade-level professional development. To support the delay of the start of school, the District will survey staff and families to identify which adjustments will be made to the District’s calendar. The District will work with school staff to ensure materials are in place for students should delays in devices continue beyond the start of school.
As of Thursday, August 27, the District has exchanged or distributed 6,440 of the devices ordered this past spring to students in need. On Friday and Saturday an additional 1,200 devices were distributed to students in grades 2-5. More than 1,800 students still have a device from last school year that will not work for E-Learning this year. These devices need exchanged for new devices so that the District can reimage the devices for redistribution to families in need. Device distribution is only for families who do not have a device at this time. Families that have access to a device at home are asked to use that device until remaining devices are received by late October. Compatible devices include personal desktop and laptop computers and tablets (iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc.). For information on how to use personal home devices to log into the District’s learning management system, families can visit www.pghschools.org/elearning.