Worcester proposing hybrid alternating week school schedule
WORCESTER CO., Md. – Worcester County educators are figuring out how make sure roughly seven thousand students get the time and attention they need in the middle of COVID-19. On Tuesday, they presented a plan to the Board of Education about what classes may look like in the fall.
“We want to do best first and foremost by our kids that we serve,” says Superintendent Lou Taylor. “We’re looking at a hybrid model of which we would use an A week and B week. We would bring part of the kids back in A week and part of the kids in B week and they would do some distanced learning on the week they are home.”
The proposed schedule is not set in stone and officials say they’ll be looking for input before it’s finalized but they believe it’ll offer consistency for everyone.
“We really wanted to pick a model that offered parents and child care providers some continuity and operationally offered us opportunities to clean where we were bringing the same set of kids in five days in a row,” says Dr. Annette Wallace, the Chief Academic Officer for Grades 9 to 12.
As for classroom time, officials say they’re following current health guidelines and will require everyone to wear face masks with some exceptions. “There will be an opportunity when they eat, maybe when they are out on the playground out in the open air that they will be able to take those masks off,” says Taylor.
The county is still working on what eating schedules will look like. As for transportation, they’re a little more clear on that. “We’re going to encourage parents who can bring kids to school to do so but we will have transportation for any kid who needs to get to our schools should it come that they are allowed to come back into our buildings,” says Taylor.
No matter what plan is finalized, educators say they’ll assess the needs of students as soon as they start school in the fall. “Another part of the plan is for all of our students we need to do diagnostic testing when they come back so we can figure out those gaps and those needs,” says Dee Shorts, the Chief Academic Officer for Pre-K to 8th Grade.
Worcester County officials say they’ve been addressing technology and internet challenges by providing laptops and hot spots to students. They also say they’re excited about a new technology plan with Apple products that they’re hoping to roll out in the fall. It’s a more than three million dollar commitment over a period of four years.
The county will be looking for feedback on these proposals so keep an eye on their website for how you can share your thoughts.