HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — The majority of Derry Township School District students will not return to full-time in-person learning this school year.
The Board voted on Monday to stick with the current hybrid model for students, with some exceptions.
Part of the board’s reasoning in their 6-2 vote was respecting the administration’s wishes, which recommended that the current model stands, citing concerns about space, safety and another potential interruption to learning with so little time left in the school year.
Still, some students have already made their return. The district invited ninth- and twelfth-graders who are struggling academically to come back full-time four days a week.
On March 29, they will be taking in tenth- and eleventh-graders who are facing the same struggles.
District officials also said they are making a plan to address students who are struggling emotionally or mentally.
Hundreds of parents and citizens who signed a petition and have been begging to come back for well over a month were disappointed, especially considering the CDC’S new guidance that students only need to be three feet apart in schools.
“We are a system that has 3,500 students in it, and sometimes the pushes and pulls of the system do not allow for every single person to get what they want or feel that they need,” Superintendent Joseph McFarland said.
Dozens spoke at the meeting, several saying that the district has lost its blue-ribbon reputation.
Two parents said they have turned to private schools to fulfill their child’s needs
“When you look at everybody around us, everybody else seems to be figuring it out. But, we are no further ahead than we were a year ago. Right? So I think that’s the most frustrating part, not just to the parents who want their kids in school, but maybe for the parents who have kids that are virtually learning that are doing okay, but what if they could be doing better,” said Angela Weader, a Derry Township School District parent.
District officials said they are planning to return to full-time in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.