Westerville students likely to see blended model when classes resume

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

The Westerville City School District anticipates beginning the 2020-21 school year with a blended model that rotates students between in-person and distance learning.

District families received digital communications from the Westerville schools July 17 on what is called the WCSD Responsible Restart plan. It shows the district resuming instruction on Aug. 19 and operating on an “A Week” and “B Week” schedule to reduce the number of students on site at any given time.

Superintendent John Kellogg said the recommended plan would be considered by the board of education at its meeting on Monday, July 20. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be streamed over the district’s YouTube Channel, youtube.com/wcsdohio. Public comment on the 2020-21 Responsible Restart proposed learning plan has been opened early and will be received electronically through the end of the board meeting.

The blended-model schedule would be based upon a full week of in-person instruction, followed by a full week of distance learning instruction.

When “A Week” students are attending classes in person, “B Week” students would participate in distance-learning instruction, and vice-versa.

Per board policy/guidelines, pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students will be required to wear face coverings when in halls and common areas, as well as if distancing by space and/or partitioned areas is not possible

The district also proposes offering a Westerville Virtual Academy as a year-long option for families who prefer 100% virtual instruction for their students in grades K-12.

Kellogg said the recommendation comes after a lot of work and the consideration of information from a variety of sources including family and staff surveys.

“We’ll continue to work very, very hard to make sure kids are well taken care of educationally and socially, given the circumstances we’re in,” he said.

Based upon Ohio’s COVID-19 Alert System and local health conditions, officials will consider transitioning from a blended model to either a traditional or fully remote-learning model at the classroom, building or district level.

Kellogg said the district relied heavily on what was provided by Gov. Mike DeWine in the COVID-19 Health and Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools in drafting a plan.

He said it’s frustrating not to begin school the way everyone is used to, with all students attending in person.

“We look forward to when we return to normal operations safely,” Kellogg said.

Students are scheduled to receive a “Back to School during COVID-19” packet prior to returning.

Details of Westerville’s proposed plan can be found at wcsoh.org/backtoschool.

Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/Westerville for updates.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla