Due to increased staff and student absences, Creston Community Elementary School — grades one through five — will transition to a combination of remote and on-site learning beginning Monday, Superintendent Deron Stender said in a notice to parents.
“We had a mentality: do every thing we can but don’t break,” Stender said. “We just reached the point where I could see the crack coming.”
Today will be a recovery day. No on-site learning will be held. Staff and students’ parents should use the day to “prepare for the transition to remote learning ... (gather supplies, devices, plan schedules, etc.)” the notice said.
CCES principal Julie Plant said the students will be split into two groups consisting of two of the four classes from each grade level. One group will meet in person Monday and Tuesday with remote learning the rest of the week. The second group will have remote learning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with in person learning Thursday and Friday.
“The students will stay with their teacher,” Stender said.
Stender said six data points were used in making the decision to switch to a hybrid model. The positivity rate did not rise above the 15% needed for a waiver to full-time remote learning.
“While our positivity rates have gone up a little bit, that’s not the ... reason we why we need to go to a hybrid model,” he said. “What it comes down to we’ve got so many individuals in quarantine ... we’re just hanging on by our fingertips.”
Plant said the student positivity rate is at 2.27%. However, the number of staff absent due to quarantine and isolation has created logistical problems. Plant said two staff members are currently quarantined due to close contact with a person who has tested positive, one has tested positive, two will have prolonged absences due to COVID-19 related daycare issues, and two are currently in isolation pending test results.
Two of the affected staff members are shared between the elementary and middle schools.
Stender said the recent decision to move students to on-site learning if they were struggling with remote learning did not factor into the decision to move to a hybrid model. He had previously stated that the work load for teachers trying to teach two groups of students simultaneously — on line and on site — was unfair to teachers and not working well for students.
“This is an isolated building,” he said. “Our early childhood center, our middle school and our high school are not seeing the level of absenteeism that we are in the elementary. They’re still able to provide instruction.”
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