FAQ – Continuing in the Hybrid AM/PM Instructional Model

Why did the Board of Directors choose to stay in the Hybrid Model for the remainder of the school year?

The major reasons for the decision to remain in the current hybrid AM/PM instruction model are summarized, as follows:

  • Re-rostering: Some students would need to be removed from their current classes and placed in a new class with a new teacher in order to meet current CDC guidelines for physical distancing.
  • Continued remote learning: Providing the students (130) who were not comfortable returning to in-person instruction with a separate online platform and having to start new classes remotely
  • Logistics: The work involved in re-structuring classes, adding outdoor food service, and logistics related to screening, drop off and pick-up
  • Costs: Purchasing 300 desks for the remaining 36-40 days of instruction, hiring two new teachers, additional support staff for food service, and other supervision needs
  • COVID Transmission:  Rates continue to rise throughout Chelan County, and there is a risk of needing to return to the remote hybrid model again before the end of the year

After weighing all factors including the costs vs. the benefits as well as and considering how well the system is currently functioning, the Board voted 3-1 to stay in the Hybrid AM/PM Model. Even though a majority of parents indicated in the survey that they would like the District to return to full-time in-person learning, our Board did not feel that making this change is in the best interests of our students, staff, or the organization with only 40 days remaining in the school year. Staying with our current model offers stability and consistency as well as eliminating the anxiety associated with wondering when the next change might occur. We will continue to serve our students to the best of our ability and focus our efforts on preparing for full-time in-person learning this fall.

 

What were the barriers for students returning to full-time in-person learning at Morgen Owings Elementary School?

  • Classroom Re-rostering

In order to meet the Department of Health’s current physical distancing requirements, MOE would have had to re-configure classes in the 4th, 5th and possibly 3rd grades due to large class sizes.  Four to five students from each class would need to be transferred in order to form a new class with a new teacher.

  • Logistics Complexities              
    • Food Service: Based on the new guidelines, students would have to eat outdoors and be seated 6’ apart. Food service would need to offer 6 different lunch sessions, which would involve reducing instructional time in order to accommodate lunch in the school day.
    • COVID Screening: Currently we screen 250 students during each session. In order to offer full-time in-person learning we would have to screen 500 students each morning.
    • Drop-Off/Pick Up: Due to more parents driving students to school (students not riding the bus due to COVID) traffic congestion would be problematic.
  • System Fatigue                                                                                                                                                       Since Sept 2020 there have been 3 major schedule changes (i.e. fully remote, hybrid AM/PM with remote Wednesdays, and recently adding Wednesdays on campus). If full-time in-person learning were implemented it would be the fourth and most difficult schedule change in a year. The fatigue staff and students are experiencing is not just from being tired but also is the result of dealing with the anxiety during a pandemic, constant uncertainty, and change over a prolonged period of time.
  • Instructional Design

Classroom instruction has been designed around the hybrid learning model this year, and this model meets best practices for instruction.

 

What are the benefits of the current AM/PM Hybrid Instructional Model?

  • Schedule

The recent addition of on-campus instruction on Wednesdays in our current hybrid instruction model has allowed the addition of PE, music and various enrichment classes (STEAM) to student schedules.  

  • Class Size

Smaller class sizes to accommodate social distancing guidelines have allowed teachers to provide more one on one instruction, improving math and literacy education.

  • Structure

Students and teachers have established a rhythm using this model and are able to focus on their work and personal and student safety, with minimal distractions.

  • Systems

After extensive training, teachers and students have mastered the Covid mitigation protocols. They have      also been able to develop strong relationships with both teachers and 

 

If we were to return to full-time in-person learning, what options would be available for families who do not feel comfortable returning to school?

According to the recent survey data, approximately 26% of families (130 students) at MOE chose not to return full time. Due to limited options, students would be offered online learning, in a remote setting.      The school district would work with families to provide online options for the remaining months of the school year.

 

How do the new physical distancing guidelines developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) impact returning all students to full-time, in-person learning?

The Center for Disease Control and the Washington State Department of Health recently updated their guidelines for physical distancing from 6 feet between students to 3 feet with cohorting. This guideline is different for elementary and secondary schools based on the fact that elementary schools can cohort students; this is complicated to achieve at the secondary level due to the highly mobile nature of students attending different classes. Elementary schools are not tied to community metrics – whereas at secondary schools transmission rates must be lower than 100 per 100,000 for the past 7 days in order to be able to move to the 3 feet guideline. Currently, Chelan County transmission rates are over 200 per 100,000 and continue to rise. As long as trends of declining cases continue and a majority of our state’s adult population has received their COVID vaccine, schools will not need to continue placing students at 6 feet apart by next fall.

What is a cohort?

Cohort is a term used to group students. Cohorts are created to group students with dedicated staff who remain together throughout the school day, including recess and lunch time. These groups remain consistent from day to day and should not be combined or mixed. Staying in cohort groupings limits the amount of contact between individuals by:

  • Decreasing the opportunities for exposure or transmission of COVID 19
  • Allows for easy contact tracing in the event of a positive case in the school building
  • Simplifies testing, quarantining, and isolation to a single group of students

 

Why wasn’t information about re-rostering class sizes not included in the initial survey?         

At the time the survey was developed, the new CDC guidelines had not been published.

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