Dallas resisting calls to expand in-person learning | News
Dallas School District residents and parents are encouraging school officials to increase the number of personal class days for students.
An online petition on change.org calls for more personal learning and has more than 360 supporters. Students in Dallas currently attend school two days a week as part of a hybrid plan that combines in-person and online class days for two groups of students.
Superintendent Thomas Duffy explained why the district has a hybrid learning plan for COVID-19 during Monday’s school council meeting. It was a virtual meeting because of the pandemic.
Business Manager Grant Palfey read a number of comments and questions about the hybrid plan and why the district cannot have students with face-to-face classes five days a week.
“Simply put, our vision is to bring the students back for five days. We support that. We’re not happy with Hybrid, ”said Duffy.
Dallas started the school year on a hybrid plan and resumed it on January 25th. All schools in Dallas switched to online classes on December 7th after a spike in COVID-19 cases involving staff and students.
“We certainly had students who were sick, very sick,” said Duffy. “We certainly had employees who were sick, very sick. And we cannot lose sight of that. The reality is we’re getting reports of positive cases late last week I believe. And we cannot lose sight of the fact that people get very sick and that the virus continues to spread. “
The hybrid plans allow the number of students in social distancing schools to be reduced by at least 6 feet. Each group has two days of face-to-face learning during the week provided there are no public holidays or bad weather cancellations and three days of distance learning.
Amanda Faneck, mom of a first grade student in Dallas, is promoting the online petition calling for more personal learning.
“So what do you learn in first grade? You will learn all of your basics. They learn to read. You learn to write. As a first grader, I have the feeling that these things are withheld from him because he is now reading on a computer screen, ”said Faneck. “He doesn’t interact with his peers. He doesn’t read in a group. “
The state recommends only virtual learning or a mixed model of in-person learning only for elementary school students for schools in counties with significant transmission. The guidance is not a mandate.
Substantial transmission is defined as a test positivity rate of at least 10% or an incidence rate of at least 100 cases per 100,000 population over seven days.
Test positivity in Lucerne County was 10.5% from January 29 through Thursday, compared with 11.2% for the previous seven days. The incidence rate in the county was 210.8 cases versus 327.6.
“As the numbers get better, we’re still staying at what is considered sizable in Lucerne County,” said Duffy.
Luzerne County switched from moderate to significant transmission in late October. The incidence rate in the county was 138.8 from October 30 to November 5 and rose to 663 from December 11 to December 17.
The Lake-Lehman School District is the only district in the region where face-to-face learning has not been interrupted during the current school year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could enact new school reopening requirements on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast on Sunday. CDC director Rochelle Welensky said last week that vaccinating teachers “is not a requirement for schools to reopen safely”.
Also at the meeting on Monday, the school board approved the approval of a union contract with auxiliary staff, which expires in 2026. He sees salary increases of 3% in the first and second years, 2.75% in the third year, and 2.5% in the fourth and fifth years years ago.