Safety measures prompt need for hybrid learning model

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After meeting with principals and focus groups, preparing safety protocols, and reviewing campus space available for social distancing, Dallas ISD is proposing a hybrid learning model for all high schools and at least one elementary school when students return for on-campus learning Oct. 5.

The proposed hybrid model is designed to reduce the number of students on campus at any one time by dividing students into two cohorts and alternating time on campus and distance learning for each cohort. High school principals strongly support this model as important to promoting safety because they expect that more students will return to in-person learning than indicated in the results of the ongoing survey of student intent. Principals also said a hybrid model will increase safety for students and staff due to the smaller classroom sizes in older buildings and larger number of transitions between classes. Speaking with county health officials further confirmed that this would be a beneficial arrangement for high schools while the county remains in the orange risk level, recommending that our older students return to full day on-campus learning last.  This will allow schools to build strong routines for safety and slowly add more time for on-campus learning as health conditions improve.

Elementary and middle schools were also considered for this model if the number of students intending to return to campus was larger than the campus space available for social distancing. Since we know this is a greater disruption for families with younger students, every attempt was made to find additional space. After careful study of enrollment, campus capacity, portables and additional spaces, only one elementary campus also requires a hybrid model at this time.

This decision, like all hybrid decisions, will be reviewed at the end of each nine-week period to determine when we can shift to five-day-a-week on-campus learning for all schools.

The results of the survey of student intent were used as one of the factors to propose a hybrid learning model. To see the results of the survey available at this time, click here.

At this time and to prepare for any contingencies, next steps could include:

  • Seek input from parents from elementary schools for the hybrid model Sept. 21 and 22.
  • Identify schools near each hybrid model in PK-8 for parents to seek transfers for five-days-a-week on-campus learning.
  • Send a new survey to families of the affected schools on Wednesday, Sept. 23, offering three options: distance learning, campus hybrid, or transfer for five-days-a-week on-campus instruction.
  • Implement phase-in start of school with PK, kindergarten, and sixth grade returning Sept. 28; ninth graders return in hybrid model, while students in specialized special education classes remain five days a week.  All other on-campus learners return Oct. 5.
  • Notify parents of the final high school schedule for on-campus learning by the end of the week, Friday Sept. 25, 2020.
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