Mount Vernon Community Schools are remaining in their current hybrid learning model until Jan. 19, 2021, where they will return to having students go to school every day. Superintendent Greg Batenhorst proposed the idea at the School Board meeting on Oct. 13 and the decision was finalized.
Batenhorst made it clear that the decision to remain in the hybrid model was made out of concern for the safety of students, parents, and faculty. The coronavirus is an issue that everyone has seen the effects of and remains one of the school board’s biggest concerns.
Other than an improvement to health and safety, other benefits arise with the hybrid model. Students are less likely to get lost with smaller class size and some students report that they feel less of a time crunch under this system. “I definitely think that the hybrid model allows for the kids who truly struggle to be heard; especially since there are much smaller class sizes,” freshman Boede Stoops said. “However, I do feel it would be better if it was one week on and one week off. Every other day just feels really stop and go for me.”
The majority of students also agree with the decision to remain with an every-other-day schedule. According to the student learning survey conducted by the school, 62.7 percent of hybrid students and 73 percent of remote students want to keep the schedule how it is. “I like the hybrid model because it opens up time for a job on the off days and it is similar to how life is like in college and it is able to prep me for that,” senior Ellie Crock said.
The downsides of the hybrid learning environment include a lack of a dynamic learning environment for students, a lack of daily communication with teachers and peers (which is especially noticeable in the younger grades), and the learning gap can widen for already struggling students.“The downside to me is that I don’t get to see all my friends and that relationship building suffers because of the lack of time spent around friends,” Crock said.
At the beginning of the second semester, the school will revert back to an every day schedule. However, if Linn County’s Covid positivity rate and the absentee rate for illness in the district are higher than 10 percent or the Linn County positivity rate is higher than 15 percent then the schedule will remain how it currently is.