Hybrid Model to Continue
TCS Will Move to Five-Days of Instruction for Fall
Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria announced the decision Friday after careful consideration of the factors. While the system leaders are eager and dedicated to resuming five days of face-to-face learning, making the transition at this time proved not to be as functional as it seems.
“As we’ve worked to make the decision for the last part of the school year, we’ve looked at everything from our employee vaccinations, the needs of our virtual students, balancing the needs of educators, and the needs of our students,” said Daria. “We want to make sure the instruction is robust and strong and we want to do that in a way that we can ensure it is taking place.”
At this point, he said remaining on the four-day face-to-face schedule, or hybrid approach, best ensures that.
For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, in-person students will continue with Mondays-Thursdays in the classrooms and Fridays learning asynchronously online. This announcement maintains the status quo for virtual students as well as provides TCS the opportunity to continue meal distribution on Fridays for families. About a third of TCS students are full-time virtual, many of whom are being taught by teachers who are also teaching face-to-face as well during the week.
“Our virtual students’ schedules are important. It’s important that they have access to their instructors at the times they have access to (them) now, and that includes time on Friday.”
Daria also cited the need and importance for continued educator planning time for delivery of in-person and virtual instruction, along with that time providing teachers the opportunity to connect with students who need additional support. Additionally, the Fridays allow for deeper cleaning of schools.
The superintendent says plans are well underway for a robust summer learning program, intended to shore up skills in advance of the 2021-2022 school year, where students will attend Monday through Friday.
“To our parents who may be disappointed with our decision for March, April, and May, I assure you we are on target to be five days in the fall: full-time and in-person,” said Daria. “In fact, there are no other decisions to be made at this point. We are ready to get our children back on all of our campuses.”
The system will not offer a Pre K-12 virtual program in the new school year that resembles the one from this year, created due to the unprecedented public health crisis. Next fall, Pre-K through eighth-grade students with documented medical issues may access homebound services through the TCS procedures. Students in grades 9-12 may access virtual learning through the established policy.
Meanwhile, TCS has seen declining COVID-19 numbers among students and staff in recent weeks that administrators attribute to consistently-implemented safety practices such as effective mask-wearing, good hand hygiene, and social distancing to the extent possible. As of today, there are three employees and 11 face-to-face students who have active cases of COVID-19 and who are presently in isolation.
During February, many educators received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine thanks to a partnership with DCH Regional Health Center, with more in line to receive over the coming weeks, until all TCS employees who opt for the vaccine have had it.