Carmel Clay Schools will maintain its hybrid in-person model for secondary students for the remainder of the school year.
In an email sent March 17 to the CCS community, CCS Supt. Dr. Michael Beresford said the administrative team thoroughly evaluated a possible full-time return to the classroom but decided against it because of difficulties balancing class sizes, maintaining social distancing and creating new bus schedules.
Beresford stated that full-time in-person learning is expected to resume in the fall.
For the 2020-21 school year, secondary students have had the option of attending school virtually or through a hybrid schedule of alternating virtual and in-person days. Elementary students may choose between fully virtual or fully in-person options.
The following is the full text of the email from Beresford:
Dear CCS Family,
Our administrative team in cooperation with the Carmel Teachers Association has gone through a very detailed evaluation of how we might return grades 6-12 to every day learning. Through this evaluation, we have determined that it is in the best interests of our students to remain in the hybrid model for the remaining 8 weeks of the school year for the following reasons:
Class Size and Balance
We were not able to combine our student cohorts and keep classes balanced. Excluding typically large classes like band, choir, and orchestra, when we combined classes for everyday learning, CHS had 6 classes with over 50 students, 12 classes with 40-47 students and 8 classes with 35-37 students. We had very minimal opportunities to change student schedules to better balance classes and keep students with their current teachers.
At the middle school level, we had similar issues with each school having 30 to 50 classes with 35-43 students enrolled. The balancing process would result in over 100 students requiring a change of teacher.
The larger classes noted above make any social distancing unmanageable. At CHS our current average lunch period now has approximately 560 students. Combining our cohorts would result in lunch periods of 1100-1200 in each of 4 lunch periods. This would require expansion into other areas of the building to create 3-6 feet of distance.
In our middle schools, the larger classes noted above make any social distancing unmanageable as well. Our middle school lunch periods currently have an average of about 110 students. Lunch periods would increase to 220-260 students again requiring expansion to other areas of the building to create 3-6 feet of distance.
Increased ridership as a result of combining the cohorts would result in over-crowding of busses which is already compounded by the shortage of bus drivers. We would anticipate an increase in the number of double bus routes where busses would pick up groups of students early, drop them off at school and go back out to pick up students on another route potentially causing delays in the start of school and in returning students home in the afternoon.
Our plan moving forward is to maintain the current hybrid schedule for the rest of the school year with the intention of returning to full-time, every day learning in the fall.
We will continue to work with our medical community and follow the safety precautions moving forward. We will also work with the school community at CHS and each middle school to create additional social opportunities and events where students who feel comfortable can safely gather before the end of the school year. In addition, we will continue to help students who may be struggling academically. Please reach out to your student’s school counselor/social worker if you student needs support of any kind.
We are sorry for any additional stress or pressure this process has put on our students, staff, and families. We appreciate the feedback we have received from our school community from all sides. We will continue to communicate in real-time as this pandemic environment evolves and eventually comes to an end. Thank you for your patience, kindness and support through these complex and difficult times.