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From Staff Reports
The return to campus for students in the Perry County School District has been pushed back to Aug. 17 and will look a lot different as school officials have opted to use a hybrid schedule in which students split time between in-person instruction at school and distance learning from home.
The Perry County Board of Education on Thursday approved pushing the start of the school year back one additional week and to use an A/B hybrid schedule for students who have registered for on-campus learning.
According to Supt. of Education Dr. Scott Dearman, the hybrid schedule will split the district’s students into two groups with the groups alternating days on their respective campuses.
“We will split our classes in half, keeping family groups together, and have one group come a day, then the other group comes the next day,” Dr. Dearman said. “The day the students don’t come will be a distance learning day. They will have assignments to work on at home.”
“We still have to account for their work at home in order for the student to be counted present.”
The revised schedule, Dearman said, will reduce the daily traffic in the schools and on the school district’s buses, allowing for a safer environment due to better social distancing. Dearman said an added benefit on the days the students are getting face-to-face instruction, will be smaller class sizes, which he believes with will allow teachers to spend more instructional time with each individual student.
“When we have those kids face-to-face with their teachers with those low numbers, we need to really get after it,” Dr. Dearman added. “We think in this model a lot of our classes will have 10 students, some may even have less than 10, and we should be able to cover a lot of ground with those students.”
Students who have registered for the district’s distance learning option for the first semester, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of the student population, are not impacted by the board’s actions from Thursday. That is, unless they wish to swap back to in-school learning, Dr. Dearman said.
“We hope to get some of our distance learning students back (on campus) with this hybrid schedule,” Dr. Dearman added. “Total distance learning will be difficult for a lot of students, especially our younger ones.”
Dr. Dearman said he realizes that no plan in this pandemic environment is perfect and that officials in every school district in the state is tackling the Covid-19 issue differently, based on what they believe is best for their students and their community. He said he hopes schools across the state can return to a more normal schedule after Christmas, but until then, he and other local public school officials will be doing the best they can to provide a quality education to students, while also working to make sure they are doing all they can to keep the students and school staffs safe.
He said parents and students should expect to be contacted by school officials in the coming days. Meanwhile, additional information about the Perry County School District plan can be found online at www.pcsdms.com.