BY BRIAN COOTE
On December 14, Wadsworth’s Board of Education met to discuss a timeline for the return of students to Wadsworth High School. Based on current county COVID-19 conditions, K-8 students are planning to return to normal in-person school, but the high school looks to implement a hybrid system.
“As a school board, one of our responsibilities is to provide the best education possible in a safe environment for all of our students, while providing the best and safest work environment for our teachers and staff,” said Julie Batey, Wadsworth City School Board President. “In order to meet this responsibility, we agreed that the hybrid model was the best and safest way for WHS students, teachers and staff to return to school after winter break.”
Hybrid learning is when half of the students attend school in person while the other half stay home and attend online. Last names A through K will attend Monday and Wednesday, while L through Z attend Tuesday and Thursday. Friday will be a non-instructional day for students to make up work and for teachers to plan and grade. Teachers may also use Friday to work one-on-one with students that need help or have missed class.
Teachers will have flexibility when it comes to scheduling class time and work. On the day students are not in live session, they will be required to do work, but that could be either attending the class via live stream or completing assigned work for the day. Period lengths will be slightly altered to allow more time between class for teachers to get online and in person students ready.
The move from hybrid is unique to the high school due to the high number of quarantines. With a hybrid model, students will be able to spread out in class so students will not be quarantined due to close proximity to a COVID positive student. Students could still possibly be required to quarantine due to extra curriculars or family members.
“We believe this will greatly reduce the number of student quarantines and the disruption of learning we experienced prior to Thanksgiving when the high school was fully in-person,” said Batey.
There are many factors that decide when hybrid learning becomes full online. There has not been an official decision when students will move full in person.
“We are in constant consultation with our state and county health departments and we review Medina County specific COVID-19 data, in particular, our incidence rate on a weekly basis,” said Batey. “There is no set date when the Ohio Department of Health will release their study to see if quarantine adjustments should be made, but if they and the Medina County Health Department decide to change them prior to January 4, then we would inform the community that WHS students will return to full in-person instruction.”
While the high school plans to be in a hybrid learning state after winter break, they could still change back to remote learning.
“If Medina County reverts back to Level 4, Purple the week of December 28, all Wadsworth City School students would stay in remote learning,” said Batey.
Another possibility that could still change the school board’s decision is the Ohio Health Department changing its rules on how far away each student needs to be from each other in the classroom.
Right now, if masked, students must be at least six feet apart from each other or they risk being quarantined if one of them tests positive for COVID-19. The state is looking at studies to see if this distance can be lowered. If this distanced is lowered to three feet, the school board has said that they may move the high school back to full in-person learning after the new year.
Dr. Hill along with Mr. Moore will be updating parents and students with any changes. For more information, go to https://www.wadsworth.k12.oh.us/DistrictBoardEd.aspx?archived=true .