Many online students heading back to school, but models differ

Custodians Mark Daniels and Mitch Gearhardt place plexiglass on tables at Driscoll Elementary in the Centerville school district.

Thousands of local students are preparing to return to schools after starting the year online due to the coronavirus pandemic. But their schools will use a variety of different approaches and timelines to make it happen.

Northmont and Centerville will have some students back in school buildings for the first time this week. West Carrollton, Northridge and Tecumseh will start their phased-in returns next week.

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Dayton and some charter schools won’t welcome back most students until November, while Yellow Springs and Jefferson Twp. are keeping classes online until the first semester is over. But even those keeping classes online have tweaks to their plans.

“All families will receive information on how to participate in in-person tutoring, mental health sessions, and social activities from building principals the week of Oct. 26,” Yellow Springs Superintendent Terri Holden told families.

Like the districts that began the year in-person, nearly every school that is coming back now will still offer an online-only option for families who have medical issues or are simply not comfortable with face-to-face classes.

But those online models will change in many cases as well. West Carrollton students who stay fully online will use the Schools PLP curriculum and will have a district mentor, but not live lessons with local teachers.

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Driscoll Elementary third-grade teacher Kelly Gartz prepares her classroom on Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the Centerville school district.

Trotwood-Madison, which starts its hybrid in-person system Oct. 26, said for students who stay fully online, “the level of direct instruction and direct support will be abbreviated from what was provided during the first quarter.”

That’s because teachers also will be working with in-person students. The district said teachers will provide recorded lessons plus “minimal live sessions as time permits,” and online students would get a minimum of two check-in meetings per week.

Schools also vary in the number of days they’ll have students attend in-person classes. While Trotwood students will be in-person two days a week, Centerville and Huber Heights students will be face to face four days starting Oct. 19, with Wednesdays online.

Schools that are just starting back in-person in the coming weeks have the benefit of learning from those who started a month or two ago. They’ll be taking safety precautions including distancing, plexiglass dividers and a variety of lunchroom setups.

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Those schools that have been in-person for over a month have seen a wide variety of results. Oakwood, New Lebanon and Dayton Christian schools had not reported any COVID-19 cases to the Ohio Department of Health as of last week. Meanwhile Springboro had more than 20 cases, and Fairborn had to move many students back to remote learning because of quarantine issues.

How are “fully online” schools returning to in-person classes?

Northmont: Kindergarten and first grade started this week, split into two groups, each attending two days a week. Grades 2-6 will start that staggered model Oct. 19, and Grades 7-12 will do so Oct. 26. Then all in-person students will attend four days a week (M-Th) starting Nov. 2. On Fridays, the teachers will work with students who are still fully remote.

Centerville: Half of the student body will attend Thursday and the other half Friday. Starting Oct. 19, all in-person students will attend four days a week and do online learning on Wednesdays.

Huber Heights: Starting Oct. 19, all in-person students will attend four days per week, and Wednesdays will be online. The district says their target day for going five days a week is March 15.

NHA charter schools: Emerson Academy, Pathway School and North Dayton School of Discovery will start a hybrid plan Oct. 19, with students attending either Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday, and learning online the other days.

Dayton Leadership Academy: Grades K-2 will start a hybrid plan Oct. 19, with in-person students attending 2-3 days per week. Grades 3-8 will stay online for now.

West Carrollton: Grade K-5 in-person students will attend two days the week of Oct. 19, then five days starting Oct. 26; Grades 6-12 will attend two days the week of Oct. 26 then five days starting Nov. 2.

Tecumseh: In-person students will be split into two groups and attend two days the week of Oct. 19. Then Oct. 26, students will begin five days per week in person. K-5 students who stay online will still receive instruction from Tecumseh teachers through Google Classroom. Their actual teacher may change. Grade 6-12 online students will transition to the Edmentum platform.

Northridge: In-person students will attend school for two days on the weeks of Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, then five days a week starting Nov. 4.

Trotwood: In-person students will start a 2-day-on, 3-day off system the week of Oct. 26.

Dayton Regional STEM School: In-person students will start attending one day a week Oct. 26, then two days a week Nov. 16, then four days a week Dec. 7. The school expects 25-45% of students to remain fully online.

Dayton: Career tech labs and some arts programs started in-person last week and this week. Most in-person students will begin a 2-day-on, 3-day-off hybrid system Nov. 9. The plan says, “schedules may be altered and teachers changed depending on the number of students choosing (the online) option.”

Imagine Klepinger: The charter school will start a hybrid schedule Nov. 9, with in-person students doing a 2-days-in, 3-days-out schedule. Students who stay fully online would only have live teaching on Wednesdays, completing assignments on their own the other days.

DECA charter schools: DECA’s 2-day-in, 3-day-out model will be staggered by grade level. Grades K & 5 start Nov. 2, the high school starts Nov. 11-12, Grades 1, 3 and 6 start Nov. 16, and grades 2, 4, 7 and 8 start Nov. 30.

Yellow Springs: The district is keeping classes online through end of semester. The current second semester plan is a hybrid model at 50% of student capacity.

Jefferson Twp.: The district announced this summer that they would stay fully online through the end of the first semester.

Kettering: The district says it will decide its second-quarter model by the Oct. 20 school board meeting.

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