Central Dauphin School District unveils plans for their 12,000 students to go back to school


LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — 12,000 students. 19 school buildings. These are just a few numbers that the Central Dauphin School District, which is the largest school district in the Midstate, must factor in when dealing with a pandemic and trying to get their students back to school for the fall.

School board members, teachers, parents, and other school officials all participated in a live stream on the Central Dauphin School District’s website Monday evening to discuss the back to school plans. With so many students and so little time, there were slim chances that any proposed plan didn’t come with criticism.

Some school teachers expressed concerns about the upcoming school year and even suggested delaying the start. Liz Porter, a teacher, said: “I know our return to operations committee has made great strides to create a safe environment by providing new protocols for custodial cleaning and supplying schools with adequate school supplies and installing proper signs but no matter how hard they try they will never be able to guarantee that COVID will not enter our schools.”

Mixed reactions came from parents over the district’s proposed hybrid learning models. This model calls for two days of in-class learning and three days of remote instruction. Students will be split into two groups which will allow for 50 percent building capacity. Heather Ballenger, a parent, said, “this hybrid thing to me and to the kids is not what they want.. it is so hard for them when they have a question doing school work.”

The Central Dauphin School District Board of Directors voted 7-2 in favor of moving forward with the hybrid plan. School Board President Ford Thompson said “none of these options are without problems. We are going to look at this every two to four weeks as to whether or not this is still working and if for some good fortune we can go back full time we will.”

Thompson says everyone needs to understand the plan is not etched in stone. Things can change at any time. The next board meeting is scheduled for August 17.

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