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Village Schools

Fuller classroom return likely in April

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During a specially called work session of the Yellow Springs school board, conducted online Saturday morning, March 6, the district superintendent said administrators are working on a plan to increase students’ in-person classroom time to near pre-pandemic levels.

The local schools, which began the academic year with 100% online instruction, went to a “hybrid” model combining online and in-person classes effective March 1, with elementary school students in their building for two half days a week, and middle and high school students in-person for two full days a week.

Now, the superintendent is talking about bringing everyone into their buildings for at least four full days a week beginning in April.

An unstable Zoom connection during Superintendent Terri Holden’s report to the board made unclear what details, if any, were shared about the likely change. In followup communications with Holden on Saturday, she replied to questions from the News with little additional information, indicating that she will present more details during the next regular board meeting, Thursday, March 11. She did confirm that her hope is to open the schools more fully effective Monday, April 5, but that date is “not confirmed yet.”

During the work session, Holden told board members that the first week with the hybrid model in place had been difficult for students and staff.

“Nothing is ever as easy in real life as it is on paper,” she said, alluding to the challenges of following a hybrid schedule.

She also noted that COVID-19 case numbers are falling, and more people are getting vaccinated. School staff, 93% of whom have signed up for vaccinations, will get their second dose Friday, March 12. The promise of warmer weather also will allow more opportunities for outdoor instruction and activities, Holden said, adding that she has ordered more picnic tables for school grounds.

Holden said she believes these circumstances put the district in a better position for a wider reopening.

“It’s certainly doable,” she said of a larger return.

More aspects of the Saturday work session, including board discussion about facilities, will be covered in the March 11 issue of the News.

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