YELLOW SPRINGS — Yellow Springs Schools Superintendent Terri Holden held a virtual town hall Monday night to discuss reopening schools this fall.
The goal of the meeting was to gather input from parents about the options presented for student instruction in the fall.
“Our ultimate goal is to safely get back to in-person instruction five days a week,” Holden said. “However, Yellow Springs does not exist in a bubble.”
The district had originally planned to go back to full-time in-person instruction on Thursday, Aug. 27. However, Yellow Springs has since revised that plan to include hybrid and virtual options for student instruction.
Educators outlined three options for students. Option 1A includes a hybrid model. Divided into two groups, each group of students would attend school in person two days a week and work remotely the other two days. Masks would be required, and other safety precautions would be in place.
In tandem with the hybrid model, option 1B is for students who wish to take all courses remotely through a third-party provider. This option would only become available if the district chooses the hybrid model going forward. According to the district’s FAQ page, student support for this option may or may not come directly from Yellow Springs teachers.
Option 2 is an all-virtual option taught by Yellow Springs teachers. Students would be able to take all classes on their schedule, including AP and special classes.
“Within this option there will be a variety of activities for students, including but not limited to, whole group instruction, small group work; individual assignments, and one-on-one with the teacher,” district officials wrote in a Q/A document. “There may be some self-paced components that would be similar to what students would be expected to do at home or individually in the classroom in a traditional school experience.”
“There is no perfect plan,” Holden said during the town hall. “Each option presents its own unique set of challenges.”
According to survey data gathered by the school district, Yellow Springs parents “indicated a strong desire to resume normal, in-person classes this fall.” Many expressed as much due to concerns over childcare, particularly for essential workers, the quality of instruction, and the social and emotional needs of children. Many parents voiced similar concerns in the questions posed to Holden during the town hall.
The Yellow Springs’ teachers’ union released an open letter to the board of education calling for a “100% virtual option” for resuming teaching.
“The variables and risks that present themselves in our current climate indicate that it is not the time to return to in-person education experiences with our students,” the letter said. “At this point in our global crisis there are too many unknown factors about the true impacts both in the short, and long-term, of COVID-19.”