School board votes to return to all virtual instruction

On+Nov.+24%2C+the+school+board+held+an+emergency+meeting+to+discuss+returning+to+school.+The+meeting+was+live+streamed+on+the+school+district%27s+YouTube+channel.+

Sonia Yost

On Nov. 24, the school board held an emergency meeting to discuss returning to school. The meeting was live streamed on the school district’s YouTube channel.

On Nov. 24, the school board held an emergency meeting to vote on returning back to school after Thanksgiving break. In a five to four vote, the school board voted to go to a full virtual model until Feb. 1 or until the county experiences two weeks of transmission below the substantial rate. 

Several parents, students and other community members called in to voice their concerns about returning or not returning to school. 

“My son is in first grade, and he doesn’t know how to read and that is because of him not being in school. These YouTube videos are doing nothing for them. My child cannot read. He needs to be in school with his teacher and classmates learning,” one parent said. 

Other parents shared different views. 

“Sometimes we don’t pick our first choice, we pick what is necessary for our circumstance. We have to work together as a community, ” another parent said. 

After taking calls from the public, Assistant Superintendent Brad Hatch outlined the plan for returning to school full-time. 

From Dec. 1 to Feb. 1, or the first two weeks that the county has a transmission rate below substantial, students will attend all eight class periods everyday virtually. Teachers would have the option of teaching from home or teaching from the school. 

“Under the current situation in our community, I feel that it is responsible and that it makes sense to put a pause to what we’re doing in terms of our hybrid learning model and look at a virtual model for our students and for our staff. One of the things that has been very evident in the past couple of weeks is that the number of staff impacted by COVID-19 has been extensive. Ultimately when your staff members are impacted by COVID-19, so are your students,” Hatch said. 

The school board voted in a five to four decision to move forward with a fully virtual model. The outcome of the votes were divided: David Francis, Mike Baker, Ron Johnston, Dr. Frank Meloy and Rick Hoover voted “yes” while Eric Haugh, Ed Kreuz, Kelly Irwin Adams and Sharon Bream voted “no.”  

The school board tabled a discussion about the continuation of winter sports until next week.