Delaware schools returning to online-only classes Nov. 30 to Dec. 18

Scott Hummel
ThisWeek group

The Delaware City Schools board Nov. 17 voted to return the district to remote learning only from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18 in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in the county and state.

Dec. 18 is the last day of classes before the holiday break, after which classes tentatively will resume Jan. 4.

Delaware City Schools administrative offices, 74 W. William St.

Currently, the district uses a hybrid schedule for families who have selected it; students rotate between classes in school buildings and remote learning.

The school board said the action was taken not because the virus is spreading among students but because of its accelerated spread in the general population, which ultimately could affect teachers and staff, keeping them at home and creating a classroom shortage.

More:Delaware City Schools will stick with hybrid reopening plan

Board members said the Nov. 30 start would give families and teachers time to prepare for a return to all-remote learning.

Before Jan. 4, district officials will make an assessment based on whether the virus' spread has slowed.  

Before the school year began, the school board Aug. 10 adopted the current hybrid model that alternates in-school and remote learning for students. Half the students alternate attending school three days and learning at home two days for one week, and the following week, they attend school two days and learn remotely three days.

At the time, Superintendent Heidi Kegley said face masks would be required for all staff and students at school buildings and mask breaks would be held for the youngest students.

All buildings were to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleaning protocols, and protocols would be developed for students' arrival and dismissal, the cafeteria, boarding and disembarking buses, class transitions and for specific buildings, she said.

Board member Ted Backus said the district receives letters and emails from parents who want their children in school buildings.

"We all want that," Backus said. "And the reality is the only way that's going to continue to happen is if people follow the guidelines (to limit COVID-19's spread). And that means everyone has to follow those guidelines. And you can't follow the guidelines on just certain days. And you can't follow the guidelines when you feel like it.

“You put that mask on every day; you keep the social distancing. You don't go out and attend functions and events and sleepovers. That's what's going to happen.

“That's not just for Delaware City Schools. Everyone in this world is going through the very same thing. ... Our goal is to get students back full time at some point in the future, where it's back to normal. But unless we beat this virus back, that's not going to happen, either."

Board member Matt Weller cast the lone dissenting vote in the 4-1 decision.

"I believe that the current hybrid model provides the best balance for our students, teachers and parents at this time," he told ThisWeek. "However, I would support a compromise plan, including virtual learning at both the high school and middle schools, but with continued hybrid learning at the elementary level."

Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/Delaware for updates.

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