Lawrence school district announces hybrid learning transition period; school board will likely discuss plan during Monday meeting
photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo
The Lawrence school district will begin its upcoming use of a hybrid learning model with a transition period.
Rather than having all students begin attending in-person classes through the model immediately, the district told parents in emails Thursday evening that middle school and high school students would use a four-step phase-in process during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, high school students will use a different hybrid learning model than previously proposed by district leaders.
“The elementary, middle, and high schools have worked with their professional teaching staff to refine details for transitioning to the hybrid model and prioritizing student and staff safety and student learning,” district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said in an email to the Journal-World.
The plans will likely be a topic of conversation during the Lawrence school board’s next meeting on Monday.
According to outlines of the transition periods provided to the Journal-World on Friday, middle schools and high schools will begin their hybrid learning periods on Oct. 19 by allowing only middle school students who are identified as academically vulnerable and high school students who have experienced internet connection problems to start in-person learning. The rest will continue learning remotely.
A week later, on Oct. 26, the middle schools will allow sixth graders to begin in-person learning, while the high schools will allow freshmen and students who are identified as vulnerable to begin in-person learning.
On Nov. 2, the middle schools will allow seventh and eighth graders who are new to the district to begin in-person learning, while the high schools will allow sophomores, juniors and seniors who are new to the district to begin in-person learning.
Finally, on Nov. 9, the middle schools and high schools will allow all of the remaining students to begin learning in person.
The middle schools will follow the “AB/AB” hybrid schedule, which will separate students into two groups who attend in-person classes every other day, interchangeably. When students are not learning in person, they will take their classes remotely. Additionally, on Wednesdays, the plan calls for all students to learn remotely.
However, at the high school level, students will follow a new “AB/CD” model, which calls for students to be split into four groups, each attending in-person classes once a week on different days and remotely four days a week. Similarly, on Wednesdays, all students will attend class remotely.
Meanwhile, elementary schools will begin with the “AB/AB” hybrid schedule immediately on Oct. 19, according to the district documents.
During the Monday meeting, the board will hear a report from the Together Again task force, which has been working on plans to reopen school buildings during the pandemic. The report will likely be the last update the task force can provide to the board members before the district starts its hybrid learning plan, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 19.
According to a memo to the board, the task force will provide information related to “maintaining remote learning and moving to hybrid learning.” Boyle told the Journal-World she anticipated the report would focus on the hybrid learning transition plans and student enrollment.
In other business, the board will consider allowing furloughed district employees to return to their jobs.
In August, the board approved the district’s plan to furlough most of the district’s food service staff members during the district’s remote learning period. In a memo to the board, human resources director David Cunningham said the district’s plan to move to hybrid learning meant it would need to bring the food service employees back to work.
He said the district administration planned to bring them back in a phased manner “to meet the meal preparation demands based upon student participation.”
The item is listed in the meeting’s consent agenda, which allows the board to consider and approve several items at once unless a board member asks to pull an item for discussion.
The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday for its regular meeting through an online conference call. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district encourages the public to watch the meeting on Midco channel 26 or online at youtube.com/USD497.
Those who want to speak during public comments at the meeting can still do so. The district asks for comments to be sent by email to PatronCommentary@usd497.org by 6 p.m. the day of the meeting. Comments can also be emailed to board members ahead of the meeting. Their contact information is available on the district’s website at usd497.org/Board.
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