Local school districts return to ‘hybrid’ model


By Ryan Carter - rcarter@recordherald.com



Miami Trace Local Schools and the Washington Court House City School District will both return to their “hybrid model” — reducing student population by 50 percent — beginning Monday, after receiving a recommendation from Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) due to COVID-19 spread.

The hybrid model reduces the population by having half of the students attend the school buildings Monday and Tuesday and the other half attend Thursday and Friday. When students are not in the school buildings, they are educated virtually, and on Wednesday the district buildings are thoroughly disinfected and cleaned.

For Miami Trace, the plan will be implemented from Monday, Nov. 16 through Friday, Dec. 4. At Washington Court House City Schools, the hybrid schedule will be only for the week of Nov. 16-20. The following week for the city schools is fall break, and currently the plan is to return to the regular, five-day in-person schedule after the break.

“Over the past 48 hours, we have been reviewing data and trends for our district and county,” said Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser. “The transmission continues to be widespread in the community and quarantines are back on the rise. Our secondary world (high school, middle school) is being hit harder at this time.”

Pittser added that the high school is currently the “hardest hit building” from COVID-19. Within the district as of Wednesday, there were 10 individuals who tested positive for COVID and there were 122 individuals quarantined.

“We will reevaluate conditions the week following Thanksgiving to determine if an extension of hybrid is necessary,” said Pittser.

“One minor adjustment to the Plan B Hybrid will involve the two days of school leading up to Thanksgiving Break,” Pittser wrote in a statement. “Students who attend Mon-Tues will attend school on Monday, November 23. Students who attend Thur-Friday will attend school on Tuesday, November 24.”

Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) will operate on a hybrid schedule even though its COVID-19 case numbers are very low within the student population (only one positive across the district), according to Trevor Patton, WCHCS director of marketing and communications. Patton added that the students are doing “an incredible job staying safe and following protocols.”

The issue for WCHCS is the amount of staff out of school, making it increasingly difficult to operate the buildings effectively.

At WCHCS, family groups with the last name A-L will attend in person on Monday and Tuesday, and family groups with the last name M-Z will attend in person on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be staff only.

Family groups are determined by the youngest student in the household. For example: Household has a “Bradley” kindergartner and a “Wilson” 8th grader and freshman — all of those students would attend Monday and Tuesday with the youngest student in their household being A-L.

More information will be provided to parents soon.

Families from both school districts should also look for more information regarding meals throughout the week on district social media, school websites, and the Record-Herald Facebook page and website.

The hybrid plan is designed to improve social distancing and help limit the number of students and staff quarantined if additional positive cases are identified. It also allows some in-person instruction and avoids complete virtual learning.

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.

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By Ryan Carter

rcarter@recordherald.com