HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) – Schools in eastern Kentucky continue to face quarantines and closures, as administrators make it clear their primary focus is to have students in person.
Educators largely agree that face-to-face learning is the best option for students. Staying in person is the challenge, but hybrid schedules can help.
“It’s a great tool to have in the toolbox if you absolutely need it,” said Harlan Independent Schools Principal CD Morton, referring to part-time in-person and part-time virtual learning. .
“Everything. Everything is better than 100 percent virtual. Everything,” he added.
The hybrid model places a burden on teachers as they have to follow students to different places and at different stages of material mastery.
Married to a kindergarten teacher, Morton saw both sides.
“Administratively I had to try to manage this and then I was able to hear firsthand and see the implementation of this and the stress that comes with it,” he said.
Kentucky Department of Education officials like chief digital officer Dr. Marty Park recognize the hybrid may be necessary.
“It’s really just an opportunity to take advantage of some existing tools, if you will, for course structures,” said Dr Park.
To that end, the department has issued guidelines to help school districts and families who have already requested hybrid schedules and are taking advantage of the unique performance-based attendance model offered by some districts.
Education Ministry officials hope that having options will allow schools to choose the right COVID-19 mitigation strategies for themselves.
The opportunity before us is to have the right tools in place so that we can come in person, ”said Dr. Park. “So that’s something that I think everyone is looking for because we know the more students in person the better.”
Performance-based models do not apply to the majority of students, but are an option for school leaders.
While grateful to have the hybrid option, Morton doesn’t want to see a return to the hybrid model.
“It would be the last tool we would use,” he said. “We are 100% focused on staying in person. “
Morton added that each district in the state can find different approaches that work in the goal of keeping students in person.
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