School Board Votes To Continue Hybrid Model

School Board Votes To Continue Hybrid Model
Posted on 10/16/2020

At their business meeting on October 15, 2020, the School Board voted to continue the hybrid model of instruction for students in grades 6-12 through 2nd quarter. The quarter runs through January 22.

Through the hybrid model, middle school and high school students attend school in-person two days each week and work on teacher-assigned learning tasks the other three days. This reduces class sizes by one-half and permits social distancing in most classes. Teachers set times for meetings with individuals and groups of students as needed. The hybrid model is a compromise between traditional full in-person instruction and 100% virtual instruction for all students. Grain Valley students in grades 6-12 have had the option of hybrid or 100% virtual since the start of school on September 8.

Early childhood and elementary students will continue with full in person instruction with a 100% virtual option, which has been in place since the start of the school year. Although not socially distanced due to full class sizes, these students are primarily with the same group of students all day, minimizing the possibility of a widespread closure in the event of a positive case at school.

A decision on the instructional model for middle school and high school students for 3rd and 4th quarters will be made at a later time with significant weight given to the following criteria. Gating criteria are included:

  • Staff quarantine/isolation rate is currently at 3.23%.
  • School district substitute teacher fill rate is at 79% for Oct 5-9, which is critically low and needs to increase to avoid grade level/team/school closures.
  • Total new cases per 100,000 in Eastern Jackson Co is currently at 215 (Red). Target = trending below 200 (Yellow).
  • The Positivity rate in Eastern Jackson Co is currently at 15.05% (Red). Target = trending below 10% (Yellow).

The district administration presented the Board with a recommendation of continuing the hybrid model, pointing out that this option ensures the highest number of students in person, at least two days per week, and the highest level of consistency from week to week for students and families. Family survey results show the number of 100% virtual high school students is expected to more than double if the hybrid plan were ended at this time. Also, if the hybrid model was discontinued at this time, social distancing would no longer be feasible in middle schools and the high school, leading to an anticipated jump in the number of students needing to isolate in response to any positive Covid case at school.

The hybrid model has been a compromise position that has allowed us to continue to keep our schools open consistently. Despite several positive Covid cases in our schools, we have yet to have needed to isolate a large group of middle school or high school students. There have been days when we are operating with barely enough adults in some of our schools due to teacher and staff absences. If the quarantine numbers for adults come at us much quicker, we will not have enough staff to keep all our schools operating consistently.

Family and staff survey results from surveys taken two weeks ago were presented at the School Board meeting and considered when making this decision. 760 high school parents, 771 middle school parents, and 151 teachers in grades 6-12 participated in the surveys.

  • 90.28% of high school families would stay with hybrid, or transfer from virtual to hybrid, if hybrid and virtual were the only options.
  • If only in-person and virtual were offered, 25.66% of high school families would have their students in virtual, a potential increase of 14.83% compared to 1st quarter.
  • Overall, 51.25% of high school families would prefer full in-person.
  • 90.77% of middle school families would stay with hybrid, or transfer from virtual to hybrid, if hybrid and virtual were the only options.
  • If only in-person and virtual were offered, 19.87% of middle school families would have their students in virtual, a potential increase of 6.85% compared to 1st quarter.
  • Overall, 59.61% of middle school families would prefer full in-person.
  • 27.82% of middle school and high school teachers felt comfortable or very comfortable with moving ahead with in-person learning at this time, and 86.09% indicated a preference to stay with hybrid for now.
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