Some metro school districts transitioning from hybrid learning model to distance learning before school starts

Jessica Miles
Updated: August 19, 2020 06:10 PM
Created: August 19, 2020 05:25 PM

At the Bloomington School Board meeting Monday, an updated discussion about fall learning led to a new vote and a new plan.

Preparing to start the school year in a hybrid learning model, the district surveyed staff and determined — due to medical issues and other concerns — Bloomington wouldn't have enough staff or teachers to have in-person classes, and pivoted to distance learning.

"Perhaps we're the first of the larger districts to make a decision and then pivot but I don't think we're the last," said Bloomington Public Schools Executive Director of Community Relations and Emergency Management Rick Kaufman.

"I think within the next couple of weeks, if not next week, you're going to see additional districts go to distance learning," he added.

Some already are; Roseville Public Schools just announced a vote Tuesday night that will transition the district from a hybrid model to distance learning to start the year.

Bloomington Federation of Teachers President Wendy Marczak said roughly 50% of the teachers in Bloomington were ready to come back, about 30% were ready but nervous and were working with the district on that, and 20% could not come back in-person due to personal medical conditions or medical concerns with their families.

"It wasn’t the teachers trying to stop the hybrid at all, it was just, how do we keep everybody safe?" she said.

Safety is the main concern, although both acknowledge the stress the change may cause just two weeks before school starts.

"There’s going to be, understandably, parents that are upset with this decision and we hope that they will come to understand and continue to support us, and provide grace in this really uncertain time," Kaufman said.

The district said it will check back in by mid-October to determine what model to continue operating under.

"We’re sad, it’s really hard to think about starting the school year and not having your kids in front of you, your students," added Marczak.

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