(Posted Dec. 16, 2020)
By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer
Madison-Plains Local Schools leaders are discussing options for the district’s return to classes in the second semester.
As of the Dec. 15 school board meeting, the district had two active COVID-19 cases and 10 people in isolation due to potential exposure to the virus.
COVID-19 cases in the district have decreased considerably since the switch to online classes, said Superintendent Chad Eisler. One month ago, at the school board’s last regular meeting, the district had four active cases and 80 students in isolation.
If cases continue to drop, the district hopes to implement a hybrid model of education in the second semester.
“We believe it’s important to get students back into our schools in whatever way possible,” Eisler said.
The district is not set up to move to a hybrid model with half of the district’s students in school at a time while also complying with Madison County Public Health’s requirement for six-foot social distancing between all students and staff.
The district is working to switch out tables in classrooms for desks or chairs to increase space between students, Eisler said.
Additionally, the district sent a survey to all families, allowing them the choose to enroll their children in fully online classes in the second semester. The district is awaiting all responses before it determines what, if any, resources must be reallocated for the second semester.
Eisler suspects the district will need to hire at least two teachers, one for the elementary school and one for the intermediate school.
“We recognize that having students in the classroom, for the vast majority of students, is the best way for them to learn,” he added.
The district intends to communicate a clearer plan for the second semester to district families by the end of December.