Dear LNC Families,
After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation, last night the LNC Board of Education voted to shift students to a hybrid learning model (Plan B). Therefore, on Monday, October 12, we will carefully transition our students back to in-person learning two days a week.
As you know, our unwavering goal has been to return students to some level of in-person learning as soon as it was deemed safe and a quality learning environment consistent with our mission could be assured. To that end, the Board convened a Safe Return to School committee last month whose charter was to determine the appropriate decision criteria and formulate a recommendation for the Board to consider at its September meeting.
Over the past five weeks the committee invested a significant amount of time developing objective decision criteria and related benchmarks; tracking local and regional health data; researching and evaluating outcomes from other school districts operating under hybrid models; considering stakeholder input and social-emotional concerns; and ultimately arrived at a recommendation.
Summary of Recommendation
The following criteria led us to the conclusion that we are prepared to cautiously attempt a hybrid learning model that maintains a low level of risk, while giving students the in-person instruction and social-emotional benefits they need.
- Local virus numbers have been on a steady decline since our August decision to start school remotely, with the positivity rate (percent of COVID-19 tests returning positive) decreasing to near 5% in Mecklenburg County.
- Most local schools that have opened in a hybrid model have done so effectively.
- We know the social and emotional benefits of our students are not being met in a virtual learning environment.
- LNC has developed a strong, safe, responsible hybrid plan, including wearing face coverings, social distancing and daily health checks. These measures are proven to minimize the spread of Covid-19.
This decision does not come without challenges. Just as there are imperfections with remote learning, there will be with hybrid learning as well. In fact, our parent survey found that our families have just about equal confidence in their students’ ability to learn in plan B as they do in plan C.
The most notable challenge with hybrid instruction is that when students are learning at home, they will not have access to their teachers who will be occupied with the other cohort of students. Feedback from our staff survey gave us reason to pause and assure adequate time for the transition to hybrid learning. While most of our teachers (85%) feel they have the resources to execute plan C, less feel confident about the efficacy of plan B.
With this feedback in mind, the committee’s recommendation to the Board included a shortened school day to give teachers time at the end of the day to address questions from the at-home cohort. See details below. The committee also recommended a phased implementation timeline so that we can continue to identify concerns and improve our plans as we prepare to move to full hybrid learning.
Timeline of Hybrid Model Implementation
This return to in-person learning will be executed carefully, utilizing a staggered start (HS and MS) and two cohorts to ensure proper social distancing. Utilizing a staggered start at the high school and middle school allows us to return our students back to school slowly and safely, identifying and making any needed tweaks before reaching full hybrid capacity. This is not necessary at the elementary school because we are already living a taste of hybrid learning with the organized small group in-person instruction on Wednesdays during the Student Seminar.
Please use the table below to determine your student’s first day of in-person learning using this key:
Cohort 1 = Students with last names beginning A-La attend in-person school Mondays and Thursdays
Cohort 2 = Students with last names beginning Le-Z attend in-person school Tuesdays and Fridays