Fargo Public Schools starting fall semester with hybrid learning

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 11:39 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

Fargo Public Schools decided students will start the 2020-2021 school year with hybrid learning for elementary, middle and high schools.

The FPS COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee met Monday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to discuss the FPS Instructional Level for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, in accordance with the FPS Smart Restart Plan.

The committee says elementary, middle and high schools will begin with Level 3 Hybrid Instruction.

The is means that school campus will be open to all K-5 students. Elementary students will attend school in-person two to three days per week and participate in unscheduled online activities two or three days per week. Schools will enforce social distancing, and capacity will be restricted to 50% for students and staff.

In September, the secondary school campuses will be restricted to a maximum of one-third or one-half of the building's student population.

A parent and teacher at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School said he works with new American students. He says teaching them can be difficult, but he's gotten better at it.

Although he has the luxury of having his mother-in-law at home to teach his nine and 13-year-olds, he knows many other parents don't.

“One of my fellow teachers said to me, ‘I was hoping not to have to choose between my family and my job, and hybrid education is kind of making me choose between my family and my job,” said Tim McLagan, Fargo teacher, and parent.

This decision was made based on the following four guiding principles in the FPS Smart Restart Plan:

  • Ensure the safety and well-being of all students and employees.
  • Promote equity and accessibility to learning for all students.
  • Provide instructional delivery systems to meet the needs of all students.
  • Foster positive relationships and interactions.

Fargo Public Schools COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee said their goal is to help Fargo Public Schools reach Level 5, where all students and staff can safely return to in-person instruction.

The decision was based on guidance from the state, guidance from Fargo Cass Public Health, Cass County COVID-19 death rate, Cass County COVID-19 hospitalization rate, Cass County COVID-19 transmission rate, and considerations to the implementation of the FPS Smart Restart Plan. When considering specific Cass County data, a 14-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases was used.

The committee also talked about using “thresholds” or a model to help guide the determination of the FPS Instructional Plan Level Monday and moving forward.

No specific thresholds will be determined for the change of level.

However, the committee will continue to monitor data specific to Fargo Public Schools once schools open and look toward establishing thresholds for future decisions.

This is due to a large number of variables and factors taken into consideration when determining the Instructional Level for Fargo Public Schools.

The committee also decided that, when possible, it will work to provide at least a two-week notice prior to making a change in Level for Fargo Public Schools. However, due the changing data and the ability for the number of COVID-19 cases in our community to suddenly increase or decrease, sometimes a two-week notice may not be feasible. The 18 members of the FPS COVID-19 Instructional Plan Committee are committed to meeting every two weeks, reviewing COVID-19 specific data in Cass County and making the best decision for Fargo Public Schools using the four guiding principles stated above.

Additional information has been added to the FPS Smart Restart website, here.

More information will be added near the start of school on September 2.

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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