Poor ventilation causes delay for in-person learning return for Scranton School District

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Students were supposed to go to hybrid learning this month, but after building safety concerns the Scranton School District will make the switch to live online learning in a few weeks. The Scranton School Board made this announcement last night.

A ventilation assessment was completed which resulted in closing buildings.

“Last night we sort of reconsidered it and reorganized that plan to begin synchronous learning with our sixth through 12th grade students on March 15, and then move to our third through fifth grade students on March 22,” said Katie Gilmartin, Scranton School Board president.

The results from a ventilation assessment showed a lack of ventilation and system issues at George Bancroft Elementary and the Whittier Elementary School Annex, two schools already on the chopping block.

“Experts who are advising us feel that it was not appropriate to return staff and students to those buildings at this time,” said Gilmartin.

Proper ventalition is a priority for the Scranton School District and the Local Federation of Teachers.

“We’re an older urban school district, we know our buildings, we know that they have to be safe for us to go back in and and that’s all we’re asking for,” said Rosemary Bolland, president of Scranton Federation of Teachers.

Bolland says they still want a walk-through of the schools before they return to hybrid learning.

“We’re asking for a third-party a neutral party to go in so that can be assured that the mitigations in the buildings are corrected and that we’re going to be OK we’re gonna be safe.”

The administration will now have to find a place for those students in Bancroft and Whittier for the anticipated return to in-person instruction this spring.

Pre-K through second grade students will remain virtual. The board hopes they will be the first students to return when they phase into hybrid learning.

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