School district exploring possible end of ’hybrid schedule’ in high schools
After meeting with county officials Friday, school district says it will begin asking high school students what they want to see happen
Could students at Eagle County’s two primary high schools return to full-time, in-person instruction before the end of this school year? It’s a possibility local officials are exploring.
After meeting with county officials Friday, Eagle County Schools will begin reaching out to its students at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high schools to gauge their interest in potentially ending the hybrid schedule that has students learning in-person two days a week, and remotely two-days a week.
The hybrid schedule has been in place for the two high schools all school year.
Lower grades in the elementary and middle schools have offered in-person instruction four days a week this school year with remote learning on Wednesdays — the same as at the high schools — to give teachers a full day for meetings, training and lesson planning.
The school district’s administrators, high school principals and teacher’s union representatives met with Eagle County and public health officials Friday to discuss the current state of the pandemic, as well as options to potentially transition back to full in-person learning at the high schools.
School leaders and union representatives learned about improvements in Eagle County’s pandemic situation, and what changes can be expected with public health orders going forward, while public health officials and county officials learned more about the logistical challenges that would come with moving the two high schools back to full-time, in-person learning, Eagle County Schools spokesman Dan Dougherty said.
“The goal for today’s meeting was for everyone to gain a better understanding of all the issues involved with ending the hybrid schedule at our primary high schools, brainstorm some solutions and leave the meeting with everyone on the same page. Those goals were met,” Dougherty said.
For now, Eagle County Schools plans to keep an eye on the county’s ever-evolving pandemic situation and begin to reach out directly to high school students in order to learn more about what they want to see happen schedule-wise, and further explore logistical possibilities of changing the schools’ learning schedules back to fully in-person instruction.
Chief among the challenges in transitioning back to in-person learning is meeting social distancing guidelines.
The district’s elementary and middle schools each have fewer than 500 students per building, so classes and students could be spaced out in the buildings with enough teachers to cover smaller groups.
Each of the high schools has about 1,000 students, making social distancing in classrooms and adequate teacher staffing more difficult to achieve.
“With student voice in mind, a consistent understanding of the logistical challenges of changing the schedule, and the impact of improving epidemiological conditions, the consortium will be able to work in unison in the near future on the high school schedule for the remainder of this school year,” Dougherty said.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.