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Proactively Addressing Rumors Regarding District Closure 

Hello Pittsburgh Public Schools families, 

As we prepare for the winter break, we want to proactively address rumors about the potential for a Districtwide closure due to COVID-19. Our mitigation strategies of universal masking indoors, physical distancing, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are helping to keep our school communities safe and healthy. With significant progress in our efforts to support student and staff vaccinations, we intend to keep schools open for in-person learning when students return on January 3, 2022.  

In anticipation that COVID-19 cases will increase during the holiday season, we are sharing our Building Closure Guidelines and our steps to ensure staff and students have the tools they need if their school building may close before returning from winter break. This week students will bring devices home just in case a school building or facility needs to close, and classes need to transition to synchronous (live streaming) educational learning and instruction. Families in need of reliable internet access may request a hotspot from their child’s school.  

Our Decision-Making Process 

Using guidance shared by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pittsburgh Public Schools takes into consideration the following factors for decisions related to school building closure for outbreak containment: 

5% of the total enrollment of students/staff confirmed cases in a 14-day window; or

• Three (3) simultaneous classroom and/or core group outbreaks

• Transmission between 2 or more students or students/staff/teachers without other identified epidemiological links in 3 or more classrooms and/or other core groups (i.e., teams, band).

In addition, staffing shortages caused by quarantines and/or positive cases may result in closures, regardless of the percentage of cases at a school. The District additionally must weigh the impact of staff who are shared between facilities and the sharing of facilities between schools. To learn the number of cases within a 14-day period it would take to close your child’s school, visit  

Communicating School Closure Decisions 

We understand that families may need time to coordinate supervision of their children in the event of a building closure. Due to the unpredictability of the spread of COVID-19, building closure decisions may occur suddenly. Staff and families are encouraged to make arrangements now should their child’s school building need to close. Families will receive notification of closure decisions via a robocall. Please ensure your child’s school has up-to-date contact information. Information about school closures is also shared with the local media and posted to the District’s social media channels and website.  

We continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within our District and are paying close attention to the effects of coronavirus variants in Allegheny County and are committed to communicating changes with you. We strongly encourage families to get vaccinated during the winter break or attend our upcoming vaccination clinic on January 8, 2022, in partnership with UPMC. Families may register at Please enjoy your time with family during the break, and thank you for your cooperation as we work together to ensure safe, healthy, and vibrant school communities. Happy Holidays!

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