When school children return to school this fall, students will be learning from home four days a week and in school one day a week, but only half of students will be in school on any one day. Teachers will teach remotely three days a week and in the building two days a week.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” said Superintendent Brigid Nease, quoting Socrates at the end of a nine-page statement released on July 23 about the administration’s plans to open schools.
While many details about reopening schools are still uncertain or subject to change, Nease’s statement clarified that schools will open on Friday, August 31, under a hybrid learning model.
A hybrid learning model means a combination of in-person and remote learning. Here are the specifics: On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all students will work from home. On Tuesday half the students will go to school in person while the other half works from home, and on Thursday those groups will switch. “The reason is that we cannot fit all our students into our classrooms at the same time maintaining the 6-foot requirement,” said Nease.
Students will be assigned learning cohorts based on alphabetical last name and grade in grades K-6. “We are still determining how preK will work. Middle and high school groups will use a variety of grouping methods based on teacher licensure, course selection and building requirements,” said Nease.
In her statement, Nease cited several pros and cons of the hybrid model. Pros are that this model allows an easy transition into full-time remote learning if need be, allows for deep cleaning every other day and provides more time for students to adapt to mask wearing. Cons are that this model is far from the norm of five days a week in-person learning, it includes the challenges of remote learning, it does not allow for school to serve as a main source of child care for families, and it isolates students from one another.
Nease will release a new calendar next week with more details on the plan. She and her team are currently working on student schedules
Additionally, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 27, August 3, 10 and 17, Nease will host Zoom Community Forums with Caitlin Hollister, school board chair, and Torrey Smith, vice chair. At these community forums, Nease will answer questions and share the administration's latest thinking on reopening with the community.