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BLOG: Moving To Hybrid On September 29

At the September 1st Special Worthington Board of Education meeting, the board set a transition-to-hybrid-learning date of September 29th.  Monday, September 28th is Yom Kippur, and out of respect for our Jewish families, we don’t want to transition on that day.  The 28th will still be a remote learning day. It was clear that we all desire to have students back learning in schools with our teachers but want to make sure we’re doing so as safely as possible.   We committed to continue to talk daily with Columbus Public Health and by Thursday, September 24th we would make a final decision on mode.  By waiting until September 29th we had the advantage of seeing what works and doesn’t work with surrounding districts. 

This communication is designed to let you know that we will indeed move to our hybrid form of learning next Tuesday, September 29th.  Our surrounding school districts, Olentangy and Hilliard, have been hybrid since August 31st.  Both report success in that format.  Dublin and New Albany have been hybrid since September 8th.  We don’t have any significant stories from surrounding districts that would cause us not to move forward.

When talking with Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts on Tuesday, September 22nd she said:

“Things are going well.  The week of September 13-19 in Columbus we saw a 20.6 percent reduction in cases.  This is good news.  Two weeks prior there was a significant increase due to OSU.  Those numbers have slowly started to decrease.  Right now we find ourselves in a good position.

Looking at the age ranges that you are involved with 0-16 those numbers are pretty flat.  Where we do start to see an increase in numbers that have now gone down again is the 17-22-year-olds.  Again, not so much the population you are working with.

I’m feeling good where we are right now.  I don’t want this, by any means, to make people think that we can go back to normal or heed an uptick in any shape or form.  Flu season has not arrived yet.” 

Additionally, the Columbus Dispatch reported this week that “Ohio’s COVID-19 positive test rate declined to 3% according to the State Health Data.  This is the lowest it has been since March.”

 Thus, we’re moving to hybrid next week.  

During the “Hybrid” Schedule 

Half of the school’s student population will be in attendance every school day; students assigned to “GROUP A” will attend Monday and Wednesday of each week; students assigned to “GROUP B” will attend Tuesday and Thursday of each week. Groups A and B will be designated by the alphabet (A-K for Group A and L-Z for Group B) so families with children in multiple schools are in school on the same days. Families with multiple last names will default to the oldest student in the household’s last name, and individual schools will work as much as possible with families who need to group together for childcare purposes.

On Fridays, Groups A and B will be rotated approximately every other week according to the Hybrid calendar.

All Kindergarten students will operate on the A and B schedule. All-Day families will have payment prorated for time, not in All-Day, everyday Kindergarten.

All schools will work to facilitate the fullness of district programming, on a reduced schedule, and modified learning plan when appropriate, including elementary related arts, academic interventions, gifted programming, and instrumental music.

School practices such as meals, related arts, etc., may be altered to promote student health and safety. Parents should expect some changes to current food policies in order to protect students who have food allergies.

To minimize contact and social distancing, students in middle and high schools will not be able to utilize lockers. In addition, school staff at all levels will create signage and instruct students to follow “one-way” hallways when possible. Finally, no field trips and large-group student events will be planned for at least the first semester.

Teachers will engage with students for face-to-face learning on assigned “at school” days, facilitating new learning experiences based on academic standards, and prepare students for independent work on their assigned “at home” days. There is no expectation that teachers will connect specifically with students during students’ “at home” days, as teachers will be facilitating face-to-face learning with the other group of students.

Students will work to complete assignments with access to their grade-level learning platform, Seesaw for grades K-5 and Schoology for grades 6-12. In these platforms, students can access a variety of videos, lessons, templates, assignments, virtual tutorials, and other tools to support their “at home” work.

Teachers will be expected to maintain productive communication with families and students using the common learning management systems.

Attendance at school is counted, which follows State and Health Department guidelines for operation. There is an expectation for students to complete assignments during the asynchronous, at-home, practice days

In Preparation for Hybrid Learning:

Hybrid Blue/Green Calendar Hybrid Calendar

Meals:  Food Service – Menus

All students will still be able to get one free breakfast and one free lunch for each day school is in session as we move to hybrid.  We will be providing In School, Take-Home, and Pick Up options for students.  Logistics are in the final stages and schools will communicate procedures this week.

School Start and End Times – School Start & End Times

Bus Routes

Quarantined Students:  At times, students may be quarantined.  Our primary goal is to ensure the continuation of learning to the fullest extent possible during a quarantine/isolation period.

A COVID Dashboard will be updated daily:  COVID Dashboard

More Information:  Responsible Restart Links

 We’re excited to have students back in our schools learning for the first time since March.  Things will certainly be different than they normally are and schools have released videos and information that is specific to each school.  If you have questions that pertain to your student please reach out to the principal at your school this week so we can best assist you to be ready for next week! 

-Trent Bowers, Superintendent