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New Push To Get Pennsylvania Students Back Into Classroom

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Natasha Brown reports.

Video Transcript

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- Well, there is a new push to get more Pennsylvania students back into the classroom during the pandemic. As Natasha Brown reports, school leaders are getting help at the state and federal level.

MICHAEL ROTH: They asked if we wanted to have Secretary Cardona come visit us, and absolutely I said yes.

NATASHA BROWN: A welcome visit to Olney elementary school from the US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

MIGUEL CARDONA: Nice to meet you, Miguel Cardona.

- Nice-- Very nice to meet you.

MIGUEL CARDONA: Pleasure to meet you.

NATASHA BROWN: Staff at Olney elementary say the secretary got a firsthand glimpse at students in the midst of their hybrid learning day. They also discussed the current needs of schools operating during the pandemic.

MICHAEL ROTH: So with some of the current initiatives from the Biden administration and Secretary Cardona, we have seen additional resources coming into the schools and the school district.

NATASHA BROWN: The state of Pennsylvania will be receiving federal funding to address education. State education leaders held a briefing Wednesday on the heels of Secretary Cardona's visit to Philadelphia as they continue to address the needs of local schools.

NOE ORTEGA: Once we move into in-person instruction, we want to ensure that we create conditions that allow for schools to continue to remain open safely as well. And a lot of this is going to come into understanding exactly what to do at the local level.

NATASHA BROWN: Olney elementary school officials believe they were chosen for this visit because of their facilities, a 120-year-old building with a splintered campus. The needs are great if reopening in the fall is to happen safely.

MICHAEL ROTH: We are currently in three separate buildings. We have four trailers. So we have 900 students, and we are spread out over basically three different campuses.

NATASHA BROWN: Right now about one third of all these kindergarten through second grade students have returned for hybrid learning with the intention of allowing its third through fifth grade students to return soon. The national spotlight and federal resources may help to make that happen.

MARTIN WOODSIDE: Parents want students to come back too. They just want to feel like it's a safe place to send their students to. And as soon as they feel that way they're going to go forward with it.

NATASHA BROWN: Natasha Brown. CBS 3 Eyewitness News.