Seymour Community School Corp. students will start the new semester Monday morning in the same fashion as before the three-week winter break.
All elementary students will return to in-person classes Mondays through Fridays unless they are enrolled in remote learning, and sixth grade through 12th grade will resume a hybrid schedule of in-person, remote and eLearning.
In the hybrid schedule, students whose last name begins with letters A through L attend in-person Mondays and Tuesdays, followed by an eLearning day Wednesdays and remote learning Thursdays and Fridays.
Students with last names beginning with the letters M through Z participate in remote learning Mondays and Tuesdays, eLearning Wednesdays and in-person Thursdays and Fridays.
Superintendent Brandon Harpe said the goal is to get all students back for full-time in-person instruction this semester.
But when that is able to happen depends on the level of COVID-19 spread in the community and other conditions, such as the number of staff and students out on quarantine and how quickly staff are able to get the vaccine.
“As always, the safety of our students and staff remain our top priority, and we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 data on a daily basis,” Harpe said.
SCSC implemented a hybrid schedule in October after the state placed Jackson County in the orange or heightened level for spread of the virus in the community. The county has since moved to red.
The colors — blue, yellow, orange and red — are based on the number of new cases in the county per 100,000 people, the positivity rate and weekly changes in that rate.
Harpe thanked parents and the community for their patience and support during the pandemic.
“The change of the calendar to 2021 brings us new hope and new opportunities,” he said.
During Schneck Medical Center’s weekly community COVID-19 update Tuesday, Teresa Brown, superintendent of Jennings County School Corp., said students returned to classes that day.
Jennings County also is categorized as a red county for COVID-19 spread and is following a hybrid schedule similar to Seymour.
Brown said she plans to reevaluate the situation after the first two weeks of January and hopefully move seventh through 12th grades back to traditional in-person classes.
“We know getting kids in school full time is absolutely our goal,” she said. “We saw what happened first semester with failure rates, and we’re very concerned about getting kids in school.”
Dr. Christopher Bunce, public health officer for the Jackson County Health Department, agreed children need to be in school.
“My opinion is that we should try everything we can to get kids in classes,” he said.
Out of 170 positive cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County last week, Bunce said only seven were people under the age of 18.
“So the infection rates are lower. I do not think they contribute to community spread as much as we had thought before,” he said. “I do think schools are relatively safe places.”
He agreed Brown’s goal of going back to the traditional schedule by mid-January is a reasonable plan if the area doesn’t see a surge in positive cases from the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“I want to give schools more flexibility than I would say to holding a social gathering at a public facility,” he said. “I think we should do everything we can to get kids back in the classroom.”
At a glance
Seymour Community School Corp. students in grades 6 through 12 will return to a hybrid schedule Monday.
If your last name begins with the letters A through L, your schedule is to attend in person Monday and Tuesday, eLearning Wednesday and remote virtual participation Thursday and Friday.
If your last name begins with the letters M through Z, your schedule is to participate virtually Monday and Tuesday, eLearning Wednesday and in person Thursday and Friday.
All plans are subject to change without notice due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For information, visit the SCSC website at scsc.k12.in.us or email building principals or Assistant Superintendent Lisa Ferguson at [email protected]