School going to hybrid learning system for grades 7-12

Cabool Schools students in grades 7-12 are transitioning to hybrid learning as the school district works to provide adequate social distancing and provide education during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a hybrid system, some course instruction takes place with a teacher and students in a classroom while other students participate online.

“It won’t be perfect when we go, but it will get better,” Cabool High School principal Brad Shockley told Cabool Board of Education Monday evening. “We’ll make it work. I’ve got a great staff of teachers.”

Dr. Karl Janson, superintendent, said hybrid learning would help “make the best of a bad situation.” He said it should help keep from having large groups in quarantine.

Janson told the school board September 14 that a hybrid model for the school district had been submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the district was awaiting DESE approval. That approval came on Tuesday, September 15, and the hybrid system was to be implemented Thursday, September 15.

There are no plans at this time to change the current four-day school schedule for preschool through sixth grades. Classes at Cabool Schools are held Tuesday through Friday each week.

With the hybrid system, students in grades 7 through 12 will be divided into two groups and each group will attend their classes on alternate days. On the days they are not receiving instruction in a classroom, students can join their classrooms through a video link or students can choose to do study and assignments online independently. The hybrid system allows a teacher to be accessible to all students in a class, whether those students are sitting in the classroom or participating through a computer link.

The school district is working to ensure all students have computer devices and/or internet access so they can do school work online or through lessons provided on portable flash drives.

Janson said bus routes will run each day and carry fewer students each day with the hybrid system in place, assisting with social distancing.

He added that the food service department would be preparing “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches that students could take to cover the school days they are at home.

Special education classes will continue to be held four days a week, Janson said, noting that those classes have fewer students and are better able to do social distancing.

Monday evening school board members Shelby Ellison, Cynthia Flanagan, Stephen Hawkins, Mike Luerssen, Michael McCall and Shaun Watson approved going with the hybrid model as soon as DESE approval was given. Board member Jacob Reese was not present at the meeting.

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