NOTE: This story has been updated with Colonial’s announcement that it will open all classes remotely.
The Appoquinimink School District board voted unanimously on Tuesday to begin school virtually for six weeks and then, if health conditions allow for it, move to a hybrid model.
It joins the Red Clay Consolidated School District and Milford School District in announcing remote starts, even as the state Department of Education and Gov. John Carney urged schools to start with a hybrid model, with younger kids in classrooms, partly because they need the one-on-one help and partly because they are less likely to be infected by the novel coronavirus and less likely to infect others.
At Appo, virtual instruction will run Sept. 8 through Oct. 16, 12:30-3:30 p.m. for ages 3 and 4, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for grades K-5 and 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for middle and high school.
In the hybrid model, starting Oct. 19, preschool is in school 9 a.m.-noon, with virtual learning 12:30-3:30 p.m. Elementary students would be divided into groups, meeting one day in school, the next virtually. On Wednesdays, all elementary classes would be virtual.
In the hybrid model, middle school students would be divided into three cohorts, with two cohorts attending in person twice a week and the third cohort entirely virtual. In-school classes would be 9:30-11:45 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, with virtual classes 12:45-3:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. The plan for high school is identical, except that in-school classes end at 11:35 a.m.
Here’s the latest from public school districts elsewhere in New Castle County.
“Please remember all Safe Return to School plans are subject to change at any time due to the unpredictable impact that COVID-19 has had on our state and school district,” the Colonial School District writes in a caution that applies to them all.
Brandywine: Superintendent Lincoln Hohler will present a plan at the school board meeting Monday evening and will follow up with an email to all families and staff on Tuesday, district spokeswoman Alexis Andrianopoulos said today.
Christina: The Christina School District board voted unanimously on Tuesday for a consent agenda. Superintendent Dan Shelton told the board that the Delaware State Education Association, a union representing 12,000 people working for schools, “has asked that districts look at a six-week remote learning plan to make certain that all of our staff have the training and make sure that all of the protocols are in place. And it is our intent to follow that ask of DSEA and open our schools remotely in the Christina School District. Our full plan we intend to publish by the end of the week.” First day is Sept. 8.
Colonial: The district on July 24 announced that William Penn High School will begin remotely and offered choices for pre-K through eighth grade. Now it has announced that schools will open remotely on Sept. 8.
“We have decided it is in the best interest of students and staff to delay the face-to-face option and only offer remote learning to all students grades Pre-K through 8 for the first six weeks of the school year,” said superintendent Jeffrey Menzer.
That will allow them time to better plan and implement things like directional signs in hallways, Menzer said in a note to the district. It has created the CSD Virtual Academy to help students.
The district had announced a staggered start. The first day of school is Sept. 8 for students whose surnames start with A to L, and their second day is Sept. 9. The first day is Sept. 10 for students whose surname starts with M to Z. All students will report on Sept. 14. Plans for Wallace Wallin and other special programs are pending, according to its website.
Red Clay: All students will learn remotely for the first six weeks, with the first day Sept. 8.
Vo-Tech: The district hopes to announce a plan the week of Aug. 17. The deadline for an interest survey was Aug. 10.
“We are now spending time reviewing responses, talking with teachers’ association, before a recommendation to our school board,” district spokeswoman Kathy Demarest said. “Students’ first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 8, and will be virtual no matter what the decision is. If we offer a hybrid plan, it would bring in students one day a week by grade level, to focus on career program practice and academic/social/emotional supports.”
If Vo-Tech offers a hybrid option, students would come to school one day a week by grade level. The other days would be a blend of online instruction and assignments, its website says.
This list will be updated as information becomes available.