Bexley schools to start new model for hybrid learning when classes resume Jan. 6
Bexley City Schools will return to a new hybrid-learning model Jan. 6 upon return from the winter break, according to an email from the district Dec. 16.
The Bexley City Schools Evaluation Team, which consists of medical professionals and district administrators, made the recommendation to the board of education Dec. 15 before the board voted 5-0 to approve the hybrid-learning model that administrators say is designed to increase in-person instruction while maintaining COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic safety measures.
The new plan is an a.m./p.m. model for kindergarten through fifth-graders and an alternating-day schedule for grades sixth through 12, Chief Academic Officer Jill Abraham said.
With the a.m./p.m. model, one group of students will attend in-person classes in the morning and the other group will attend in-person classes in the afternoon. Those students will begin or end their days in remote learning. Between the morning and afternoon classes, lunch periods and classroom cleaning will take place.
Sixth- through 12th-grade students will alternate in-person and remote-learning days. Middle school and high school students will have no more than one remote-learning day between in-person classes, compared to three remote-learning days between in-person classes in the previous hybrid model.
The grouping of students for both models had not been announced as of Dec. 17.
The district began the 2020-21 school year Aug. 24 with remote learning and shifted to a hybrid model Sept. 21. The board voted 5-0 during a Dec. 4 special meeting to return to remote learning for the last two weeks of the second semester, from Dec. 7 through Dec. 18, due to the countywide spike in coronavirus cases.
The new hybrid model resulted from recommendations from a Service Model Task Force the district convened this fall, Abraham said. The 42-member task force consisted of teachers, administrators, board of education members, parents and community members.
“One of our driving priorities was to increase contact time and consistency,” Abraham said. “We were looking for ways to really optimize what would that mean … and did it have to look the same at each (grade) level.”
The task force found that alternating days would work better for sixth through 12th grades, Bexley Middle School Principal Jason Caudill said.
Because middle and high school students change classes throughout the day, “the schools would have to maintain the length of the periods,” he said.
“Otherwise, we would just spend all of our time changing classes and going through our cleaning protocols and not spend our time educating,” Caudill said.
While the new model was being drafted, the task force gathered community input through work groups, surveys and a Dec. 10 special meeting in which Abraham, interim Superintendent Dan Good and other administrators answered questions via Zoom, board member John Barno said.
The special meeting allowed the public to “see what was on our agenda and be able to give us feedback,” he said. “The ... emails that we’ve gotten (following the special meeting) have been pretty minimal compared to what I thought it would be, but I think that’s because of the process and the thoroughness of the presentation.”