St. Benedict the Moor Elementary School is switching to distance learning after eight cases of covid-19 were reported in the school community over four days.
The school, located in the Pittsburgh’s Hill District community, will be closed for in-person instruction from Friday to September 27, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said.
The decision to suspend in-person instruction was “taken out of great caution and with the health and safety of all in mind,” the diocese said in a statement. The closure is also in line with recommendations from the Allegheny County Department of Health, which suggests school closures based on the number of covid-19 cases reported in a 14-day period and the level of transmission. community.
The school did not disclose whether the cases involved students, teachers or staff.
“With the unpredictable nature of covid-19 and the challenges it presents, it is in the school’s best interest to temporarily close our facilities for in-person learning at this time,” said Audrey Bowser, Principal from school. “Safety is our number one priority, and we take every precaution possible to ensure the safety of our students, teachers, staff and the school community.”
It comes amid an increase in pediatric cases of covid-19 in Allegheny County. Children 12 and under accounted for 12% of the county’s cases in August, up from 9% in June.
There has also been a recent increase in pediatric hospitalizations linked to covid-19, although health experts continue to recommend keeping students in class when possible. Hospital systems in the region have reported an overall increase in demand for healthcare – which, combined with a nationwide staff shortage and a new wave of covid-19 cases, is causing wait times longer in hospitals. UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh on Friday unveiled an outdoor medical tent intended to expand the capacity of its emergency department.
Several other schools – including Highlands Middle School, Apollo-Ridge Middle School, and Dickson Preparatory STEAM Academy in Swissvale – have also temporarily switched to virtual learning due to cases of covid-19 in schools.