HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Central Dauphin School Board decided on Monday night to send elementary school students back to fully in person learning starting Monday, October 13th.
Board members were scheduled to vote on sending all students back to in person class, however they adjusted the plan after hearing from more than 20 people who advocated to stay in the hybrid model.
Dozens of teachers, parents, and students rallied outside of the building ahead of the meeting chanting “hybrid is the way to go.”
Teachers Michael Williams and Melissa Andrews were two of the people who asked the board to vote no to students return fully in person.
“Here we are debating whether or not we should send our community, our students, our teachers into what we know is a life threatening situation,” Andrews said.
“Teachers are on the front lines every day with the students. We absolutely think the best and the safest way to do that is not to have an in person return,” Williams said.
High School student Kyle Stevens said hundreds of students had signed a petition asking to stay in the hybrid model as well. He mentioned he had trouble learning remotely but thought health and safety should be prioritized.
“Despite my struggles, I think hybrid is the only option that allows us to be in school in any sustainable way right now,” Stevens said. “Another thing you should know about me is that I am an asthmatic. If I am infected with COVID-19, I will likely be hospitalized.”
Teacher Tiffany Henry pointed out that it isn’t just the health of students and staff that could be impacted.
“I do not want to take the chance of having a major impact on community spread, if it’s avoidable. And I absolutely think it’s avoidable,” Henry said.
Ultimately, the board settled on a phased in approach.
They decided to send elementary school students back to in person learning on October 13th.
Then middle schoolers will go back in November, and they’ll re-evaluate when to send high school students back at a later meeting.
The board did make it clear that parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their students back do have the option to join their CORE program, which is entirely virtual and remote.