About 78% of Andover parents have opted to send their children back to school utilizing a hybrid model in the fall.
Parents were required to register their children for either a hybrid or remote model of learning by Aug. 18. On Aug. 19, School Committee members discussed the results of that process, which overwhelmingly leaned toward in-person classes.
The hybrid model is effectively a schedule of combined in-person and online learning, through which all students will be divided into two cohorts — called cohorts A and B.
Cohort A will attend school Monday and Tuesday and Cohort B will attend school Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile on Wednesday, there will be online learning for both cohorts A and B. School officials say that having both groups home on Wednesday will allow for deep cleaning of the schools to take place.
A “Remote Academy” is also available for parents who've decided that their children will study from home.
Students whose parents didn't register for whatever reason were automatically placed in the hybrid program.
The higher the grade level, the more likely parents selected the hybrid model for their children. Parents opted for the remote option more when their children were in preschool or elementary school.
Superintendent Sheldon Berman said at last Wednesday's meeting that the numbers are congruous with the results of a survey the school system recently conducted that assessed which model parents would prefer.
“It looks pretty much in line with our earlier information,” Berman said. “A little bit less at the high school than we anticipated and more at the elementary. And it varies by school.”
During the online meeting, a parent submitted a question asking whether the committee would consider surveying people on their opinion of a phased-in hybrid model of returning to school.
“The committee could consider that,” Chairperson Shannon Scully responded. “I just want to point out that the phase-in hybrid is a new concept that was not one of the three that DESE (The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education) explicitly told us to put together.”
The School Committee recently submitted a report to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education detailing back-to-school plans. DESE required all schools in the state to come up with in-person, hybrid and entirely online options.
“Further, to my understanding, it wasn't suggested by any members of the task force as a path to pursue,” added Scully. “So, a solidified phased-in approach was never presented to the committee or the community.”
In addition to discussing the back-to-school models, school officials added that all students must return to school with their immunizations up to date, and by Dec. 31, all students — even though taking classes remotely— must get a flu shot.
* All APS students: 77.5% hybrid; 22.5% remote
* Andover High School: 82.9% hybrid; 17.1% remote
* Middle School students: 77.7% hybrid; 22.3% remote
* Preschool and elementary: hybrid 73.6% and remote 26.4%