Feb. 23—As Scranton School District teachers and students prepare to return to their classrooms, school directors will continue to meet virtually — for now.
Meeting in an auditorium would require the district to restrict in-person attendance and could lead to technical issues with trying to allow public participation through Zoom or YouTube, some directors said.
Director Tara Yanni encouraged fellow board members to find a way to safely meet.
"I just feel we need to lead by example," Yanni said at Monday night's work session.
For an indoor event at a venue that holds up to 2,000 people, the Pennsylvania Department of Health limits capacity to 10%. For example, a meeting at the West Scranton High School auditorium would only allow 100 participants, officials said. More than 225 people watched the work session live via Zoom or YouTube on Monday night.
Scranton school directors have met virtually for nearly a year due to the pandemic. Teachers must return to buildings March 1, followed by a phase-in of elementary students starting March 15.
"If it's safe for them, it's safe for us," Director Sean McAndrew said.
While the school board understands the importance of in-person learning, the purpose of a board meeting is to present information to as many members of the public as possible, Director Gretchen Welby said.
Meeting in-person will limit the number of people the board can reach live, she said.
Board President Katie Gilmartin said a virtual meeting is the most efficient way for directors to meet right now, but the board could revisit the issue next month.
At next week's regular meeting, directors plan to vote on establishing a Reopening Educational Advisory Committee, members of which could help monitor and assess the district's plans and their impact. Members would include parents, teachers and administrators. If the board approves the committee's creation at the March 1 meeting, the district will announce how people can submit letters of interest.
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