Chittenden County schools plan for ‘hybrid’ reopening

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 1:03 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 1:41 PM EDT
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - School districts across our region are beginning to release more details about how they will provide education this fall.

Districts in Chittenden County have all signed on to the same hybrid model that will have students attend in-person two days a week and learn at home the other three days. Our Olivia Lyons has details.

The plan agreed to by the county’s superintendents will have half of the students coming to school on Monday and Tuesday. The other half attend on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is saved for deep cleaning the schools and making sure the remote learning systems are working smoothly.

"In comparison to last spring, yes, I am very excited," CVU Principal Adam Bunting said.

Bunting tells me last spring schools were coping with the idea of remote learning, now he believes they are better prepared to teach kids both in the classroom and online.

One change at CVU-- the course load will be cut down from eight classes to four based on student feedback.

"At times it felt more almost like compulsory work, completion and didn't have that same depth and meaning they experienced in person," Bunting said.

But there are still plenty of questions about the hybrid model.

Brian Ladeau of Bristol has a third-grader in his household.

"It's gonna be tough for the kids to kind of learn, I think, at that age. And I think it's going to be even tougher for the parents to try to have a balance for working and have to homeschool. You have to do what you have to do and get by," Ladeau said.

Donna Savage of Williston says her son has intense special needs and a five-day routine schedule would be the best.

“If there’s gonna be a day or two days where they’re cleaning down the school and making it safer, of course, we are I guess looking to strike that balance,” Savage said.

A common feeling for most is being nervous. Dave Younce, the president of Vermont Superintendents Association, says that is expected.

"We've got good folks working hard to make sure we are doing everything we are asked to do and more to take care of our kids and I am optimistic that we'll get things sorted out," Younce said.

One aspect of normalcy being sorted out-- students will change classrooms. Bunting says the guidance they have been given allows them to do so.

"Transitioning from classroom to classroom is less of a concern than being in that shared space for a long time," Bunting said.

Younce says each supervisory union is taking their own approach. For example, in his district younger students will return to school for all five-days, but that at the middle and high school level they will follow a hybrid two-in and three-out model.

Though many schools across the state are expected to adopt hybrid models, combining some in-person classes with remote learning, based on the most recent guidance from the Vt. Agency of Education.

Click here to read the letter sent to families in South Burlington about the plan.

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