Morgan Jones | Design Editor
On Sunday, Aug. 9, Avon Superintendent Dr. Scott Wyndham announced to families that Avon High School would be making a transition to e-Learning until plans for a hybrid model could be discussed by the School Board.
The district’s decision came after two staff members and three students had tested positive for the novel coronavirus less than eight days into the new school year; however, Wyndham said that the shift to virtual classes was not due exclusively to the aforementioned cases of COVID-19.
“We did not make a switch [to e-Learning] at Avon High School because of positive cases,” Wyndham said at a School Board meeting on Aug. 13. “We made a switch at Avon High School because of the impact of quarantine. The impact on the infrastructure that is necessary to run a building of 3,000 students was significant.”
Wyndham continued: “We have bus drivers that are out being quarantined, we have other staff that’re being quarantined, and there comes a point where you simply don’t have enough staff to operate a school district in this environment. This building will not be the last building that we have to think about [hybrid learning] for.”
Mr. Matthew Shockley, principal of Avon High School, led Thursday’s School Board meeting with a presentation highlighting three potential hybrid learning models.
“First and foremost is promoting student and staff safety,” Shockley said. “The hybrid schedule allows us to reduce our student population that’s present on a daily basis. It should minimize or decrease the impact of contact that we have to do.”
Shockley said that each hybrid model would consist of two evenly sized groups with roughly 1,400 students each: Group A, consisting of students with last names starting with A-L, and Group B, with students whose last names begin with L-Z.
Option one of a hybrid model, as described by Shockley, would entail groups A and B alternating in-person and virtual instruction for seven-period class days Monday through Thursday, with Friday serving as a “virtual student support” and office hours period. Shockley said that this option, although simple, raised some concerns among high school staff.
“We learned [last spring] that kids being able to manage six to seven virtual classes was quite difficult,” Shockley said.
Shockley next introduced a second hybrid learning scenario to the School Board, in which group A would attend school in-person Monday and Tuesday, with virtual classes on Wednesday and Thursday. Accordingly, Group B would attend school virtually on Monday and Tuesday, with in-person classes on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday would then serve as a virtual seven-period day for both groups.
“It’s a consistent weekly schedule,” Shockley said of the option’s benefits. “You know exactly what’s coming, teachers know how to plan, and kids know what to expect.”
Shockley then presented the third and final option for a hybrid model, of which would maintain the alternating of groups A and B Monday through Thursday in a manner similar to option two, with each following Friday trading off between virtual and in-person instruction for each group.
“[This schedule] would allow us to make sure that each group is getting equitable experiences as much as possible,” Shockley said.
After the presentation of the three hybrid models was concluded, School Board members were given time to evaluate each option amongst themselves. Though an official decision was not made, the overwhelming majority of the board spoke out in favor of the third hybrid scenario.
An official decision by the district is expected to be released to the public by the end of the weekend.
Edit: As of Aug. 17, 2020, Avon’s hybrid learning schedule will go as the following: