The Mountain View Board of Education extended the district’s hybrid educational model through the second marking period. In a vote at Monday night’s meeting, the board vote split 7-2 in favor of continuing with the hybrid plan. Board members Derek O’Dell and Dan Very voted against the plan.
Since the beginning of the school year, the Mountain View has used their hybrid model, which breaks students into two groups and follows a two-week schedule. On odd weeks, students in Group A report for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesdays, with an early dismissal on Wednesdays; and then move to remote learning on the Thursday and Friday, while Group B attends school. On even weeks, the schedule for the groups is reversed.
Several parents expressed concern about continuing with the hybrid model.
One audience member, the mother of a second grader, described the virtual learning while the school was closed due to COVID cases in the district as a “great experience.”
“Virtual works,” she offered, “but bouncing between in-school and at-home isn’t working.”
Other parents in the audience agreed, noting their children were having trouble switching with the hybrid model. “It’s not going so well,” said one parent.
“I’m living it with you,” said board president Jason Richmond. “It’s not easy. It’s not ideal.”
“Ultimately, our goal is to get these kids in school full time,” Richmond said. “It’s difficult with the guidelines we have to follow.”
He also said the board doesn’t take the decision lightly. Richmond noted family health considerations, as well as concerns about students not being able to interact with their peers in a remote model. He also spoke about the increase of COVID-19 cases in the area, and said the hybrid offers a “middle ground” of bringing students to the school while limiting the spread of the virus.
The district will continue with the hybrid model through the second marking period and will revisit the topic in December to make a decision regarding the third marking period.
Superintendent Michael Elia explained that, while the district is in the hybrid model, what would be “snow days” will be virtual learning days with students able to log on for remote classes.
If the district is not on the hybrid schedule, the snow day make-up will be tacked on to the end of the school year.
The pool of substitutes in the district is smaller than it normally is, came the answer to a question at Monday night’s meeting. With precautionary quarantining of some staff, administrators have been covering some classes, noted the superintendent. But, he said, that was not a normal practice.
The district has not yet had to close due to a lack of available substitutes, but Elia noted, “If there were not enough people to cover, we would have to shut for the day.”