COVID-19 cases rising, schools deciding whether or not to do online learning

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania makes for some tough school district decisions.

Crestwood is one example of a school district trying to decide which way to go… in-person or virtual learning? The school exists in Luzerne County which falls into the “substantial risk” category.

“What that means is that those are the places where the infection rate is at such a critical level that public health experts are recommending that school districts transition to a remote-only learning environment for some period of time,” said Chris Lilienthal, PSEA Assistant Communications Director.

Crestwood officials made the switch on Thursday from hybrid to online learning.

This weekend they are deciding whether to keep kids home to learn or switch back to hybrid.

Some parents say it should all come down to safety.

“We understand that in-person is the best, but in a pandemic you can only di what you can do. And, more important than what is best, what is the best to protect the health of our students,” said Jack Dean, Father.

But some students say the decision could hurt those who already are not doing well in class.

“I feel like being in the class and having a one-on-one with the teacher is just going to help them improve their grade a lot,” said Kora Meres, Crestwood 8th Grade Student.

At the end of the day, it’s a big decision to make. A decision with potential consequences.

“If we hear of districts that are disregarding the public health guidelines, our members in our local associations will certainly be concerned about that, and we will use our voices,” said Lilienthal.

So far this school year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has not mandated any school district to close because of the coronavirus crisis. Lilienthal says the power to make that call should lie in the hands of school district officials.

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