COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Students in Columbia could do hybrid-learning this year, and the youngest would be the first in the classroom.
Columbia Public Schools District Superintendent Peter Stiepleman outlined a preliminary plan for hybrid learning to the board of education Monday night.
Under the plan groups of students would return to the classroom in four phases.
- Phase one: Kindergarten - first grade
- Phase two: Second - third grade
- Phase three: Fourth - fifth grade
- Phase four: Middle schools and high schools
Stiepleman said even though district leaders are discussing the possibility of hybrid-learning, it is important to remember Columbia and Boone County are hot spots in the COVID-19 pandemic and noted the return would not happen until numbers lower.
"None of us want to have schools closed to in-person learning, but until we flatten the Columbia curve, virtual learning will provide us the most consistent and reliable model," he said.
The 14-day rate of cases from 10,000 people within the CPS school district, which is the number CPS used to determine whether or not to have classes online or in-person, has gone down slightly over the last week.
The district does not have clear guidelines for when students would begin to transition to hybrid-learning or what that timeline would look like.
Kathy Steinhoff, president of Columbia Missouri National Education Association the local teachers' union, said teachers have faced time consuming challenges with virtual learning, and the transition to hybrid-learning could be the same.
"Now that we have had some experience with virtual learning, we are really concerned about how hybrid will work, and I'm sure parents are as well. If we are to be successful in any model, we must include all perspectives in the conversation," Steinhoff said.
Stiepleman said the biggest issue CPS faces with making the return to school buildings is quarantining. Even though classes have been entirely virtual, 130 CPS employees have had to quarantine.
Stiepleman said if students had been in the buildings it would have impacted almost all of the school buildings, including the middle schools and high schools.
"Every time we have a positive case we would need to quarantine a child, and the children in the classroom and the teacher and I think this is the biggest issue for CPS," Stiepleman said.
The board of education will discuss what a rough timeline and what guidelines may look like to make the switch at a work session on Sept. 24.