Penn Harris Madison Schools vote in favor of return to in-person learning plan

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 11:19 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Penn Harris Madison Schools will soon start a return to in-person learning after a unanimous vote by the school board Monday evening.

“We are confident that we can provide a safe, positive environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker said.

On September 14, kindergarten through third grade will have the option of returning to in-person learning or to continue virtually.

In-person instruction will start 30 minutes later than virtual instruction, so teachers can interact with their virtual students at the beginning of the day.

Grades 4-12 will remain completely virtual that week.

On September 21st, fourth and fifth grade will have the option of each type of instruction, with the same 30 minute delay for in-person learning start times.

At this point, grades 6-12 will have the option of a hybrid learning model or remaining completely virtual.

What will that hybrid learning model look like?

On Mondays, everyone will be virtual.

On Tuesdays and Wednesday’s, half of students will have in-person learning, and the other half will be virtual.

On Thursdays and Fridays, those groups will flip roles, and all of this will be based on the student’s last name.

For families with different last names in one household, principals will work to have those students all go to school on the same days.

“It was a good outcome, and it gets our kids back at least some of the time. I have a high schooler, so some of the time in the class, and the kindergartners and younger kids back earlier. So, we are happy about that,” Return to Learn Parent Committee member Bryan Jones said.

Although not everyone at tonight’s meeting thought students should return to in-person learning, ultimately, the plan stands for now.

“If we needed to make a different decision because something extremely dramatic occurred, I’m sure we would revisit that,” Thacker said.

The school corporation says information will be sent out to families Tuesday with a questionnaire where parents can choose the learning method they prefer.

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