(Posted Nov. 18, 2020)
By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer
Madison-Plains local Schools will transition to a hybrid mode of education following Thanksgiving break.
Students with last names beginning with A through L will attend in-person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, while students with last names beginning with M through Z will attend in-person classes on Thursdays and Fridays. All students will complete virtual schooling on Wednesdays. When students are not in class on campus, attendance will be taken through assignment completion.
District leaders understand that some families may have students with different last names in their household, so it will work with these families to have all of their students attend in-person classes on the same days, said Superintendent Chad Eisler.
The switch to hybrid learning follows a mandate from Madison County Public Health which has informed local school districts that they should anticipate continuing with the hybrid format until at least Feb. 5.
COVID-19 cases are rising around Ohio and within the district.
“Heading towards the Thanksgiving holiday, there’s a concern that they will continue to climb,” he said.
The district has had 12 COVID-19 cases this school year, four of which were active as of Nov. 18. Eighty students were in quarantine or isolation as of that same date due to potential exposure to the virus.
“I am holding on to the hope that the virus numbers will decrease and we’ll be able to get kids back on campus five days a week,” Eisler said.
But the district is preparing to support families in a hybrid education model long-term.
The district surveyed families on their need for Chromebooks and other devices for virtual classes on Wednesdays. In the short term, each family will receive one device due to limited supplies. However, the district is scheduled to receive a shipment of additional Chromebooks for distribution on Jan. 15, at the beginning of the second semester.
Meals will be available for students on the days they are not in class in person. On Wednesdays, when all students are learning remotely, drivers will deliver three days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches to students. Any student can sign up for the delivery service. A sign-up sheet will be available before the district switches to hybrid learning.
“I certainly understand the health department’s desire to be proactive… to reduce the spread of the virus,” Eisler said, “but for our students who chose to do so, I believe that fully in-person learning is best for students.”