CHESHIRE — The Board of Education held a special meeting Wednesday night to address possible changes to its recently-released school reopening plan.
The school district released a detailed plan on Friday, calling for all students to return to in-school instruction for the fall semester, with an option for families to opt for remote learning. The plan was based on a state mandate that districts had to offer in-school instruction five days a week in order to be in compliance.
On Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the state would allow districts to determine whether to offer all in-school instruction or a hybrid schedule.
“This week the state let us know that they would be supportive of some sort of flexible schedule for the upcoming semester,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan. “But today (Wednesday) we had a phone call where the state reiterated to us that they don’t necessarily know what that flexible plan might mean.”
A hybrid model would only be utilized for Cheshire High School, Solan said, while the elementary and middle schools would continue to operate under a “cohort” in-person plan.
Lamont and Educational Commissioner Miguel Cardona held virtual meetings this week with school districts to discuss hybrid educational models, Solan said.
“We all believe that the best case scenario would still be having all students in school for the whole day,” Solan said. “ And the absolute worst case would be returning to all (remote learning) like we had to do in the spring. Now we are just trying to figure out what would work best for our students given the circumstances.”
The hybrid model could take many forms, Solan explained. One possibility is having high school students separated into groups that would attend in-person two days a week and participate in remote learning three days a week. Under this plan, students would attend on either on Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. All students would be learning from home on Wednesday.
Solan also warned that a hybrid model could potentially cost more than what is budgeted.
Board member Faith Ham asked Solan about the fate of elective classes, which she believes might be overlooked during the pandemic.
“The students will not be losing any classes,” Solan said. “We are well aware that some of these elective classes might be the whole reason students go to school that day. We are dedicated to keeping our electives as they are and know how important they are to our students.”