By: Jayla Olson and Jason Reida
Update: The school board voted on October 31st to affirm the decision to transition to the blended onsite model, but have moved the start date to November 12th pending the scheduled November 9th board meeting.
Class will occur in a blended onsite model starting in the second nine weeks for USD 259 Middle and High School students after a school board decision in a four-to-two vote on October 20th.
In the blended onsite model students will be divided into two groups. Group A will attend school in person on Monday and Tuesdays meanwhile Group B will do remote learning. On Thursday and Friday the groups will switch.
Students in the same household, even with different last names, will be placed in the same group.
Assistant Superintendent Gil Alvarez advocates for the blended onsite learning model at the school board meeting.
“During this academic year full of pivots and adjustments this model provides the safest possible environment when the appropriate time allows students to return to school,” Alvarez said at the meeting.
Students will be required to wear masks and social distance on school property. The approximately 40% of students who enrolled in remote learning are not planned to be returning at this time. It was also decided in an earlier board meeting that students who are participating in sports and activities would not attend school in person during the time their activity occurs.
School Board Member Ben Blankley, one of the two “no” votes, opposed the implementing this learning model.
“I’m thinking that a hybrid model is the worst of both worlds, in a sense.” Blankley said, “You can’t get the teacher to student interaction like you normally would and then you also throw in the remote learning component.”
In a document shared with the school board a list of “pros and cons” provided by the COVID committee a list of potential pros and cons for this learning style were shared.
Some of the “pros” presented were providing a consistent schedule, Wednesday including time for self care and non-screen time, and higher academic achievements.
Some of the “cons” presented were increased workload, greater potential for COVID spread and the difficulty teachers will face with students being both in-class and remote at the same time.
This learning model is scheduled to go into effect on November 9th, the first day of the second quarter.