Hamilton to offer third school reopening option for families

Hamilton Schools officials will soon unveil a third option for school families in the upcoming school year to better help them cope with the impacts of the coronavirus.

School parents currently have two options – attend in-person classes with a mask and social distancing requirements or virtual learning from home.

But during Thursday evening’s Hamilton Board of Education meeting Superintendent Mike Holbrook announced a new, third “hybrid” option for the 10,000-student city schools.

They hybrid plan would have 50 percent of students divided alphabetically A-K attending in-person classes Monday and Tuesday. Those with L-Z last names would then attend Thursday and Friday, Holbrook told the board.

Wednesdays would be used by students who could communicate with their teachers online for any instructional aid.

Holbrook, however, cautioned any of the plans could change depending the fast-changing status of the coronavirus threat, which has seen state health officials in just one week fluctuate Butler County’s level of alert between Level 3 and more recently down to Level 2.

“We have yet to commit to one plan in this ever-changing environment,” he said.

The district intends to post all three option plan details Monday on its website of the now three learning options available to school families.

The sign up deadline for the at home, virtual learning option, which requires students to stay in that learning format for the entire first semester with no option of returning to in-person classes in that period, is Aug. 3.

Holbrook also said the district will start the school year alphabetically, with A-K students starting on Aug. 19 and L-Z starting Aug. 20 and all grades active by Aug. 21.

“Obviously our number one priority is the safety of our students, staff and community members,” he said.

School Board President Rob Weigel praised Holbrook – and other district leaders – for its work in developing school options for families.

Weigel described the coronavirus threat, which saw all K-12 Ohio schools shuttered in March, as “unprecedented.”

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