MMCRU transitions to hybrid learning

Thursday, September 10, 2020

MARCUS — Two local school systems have announced changes to their learning plans due to COVID-19. The Hinton Community School District along with MMCRU schools will be transitioning to hybrid learning plans.

MMCRU announced that all students, preschool through 12th grade, will move to a hybrid learning model beginning Thursday, Sept. 3 in a letter to parents released shortly after noon Tuesday, Sept. 1.

“Due to the high number of students at the RU center that have been forced to quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure, and also due to the high number of staff members at the MMC center that have become symptomatic and are awaiting test results, the MMCRU Community Schools will begin a hybrid schedule for learning beginning on Thursday, Sept. 3 and extending through Tuesday, Sept. 22,” the letter from MMCRU Superintendent Dan Barkel said.

MMCRU’s hybrid learning plan will have half of students on-site on Monday and Tuesday with the other half on site Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be no school for all students with teachers conducting profession development, however students will be encouraged to stay up-to-date with their online portion on those days, along with the days of required distance learning.

“A hybrid schedule means that we will have half of our students in our buildings while the other half will be learning at home remotely,” Barkel said. “This will allow us to space students out more in our buildings, making for a healthier environment for students in our building and also put slightly less pressure on the districts in terms of adequate staffing.”

Barkel continued by saying this situation is not ideal.

“Please be aware that hybrid or even full distance learning is not our preferred method of providing education to our students and families,” Barkel continued in the letter. “We know the disruption it creates in families and the challenges it creates with child care. We are only doing this to make it possible for on-site learning to continue, due to the attendance challenges we are currently facing. We hope to revert to full face-to-face learning for all students on Wednesday, Sept. 23, but be advised that we will analyze the health situation of our students and staff, as well as the county positivity rates on Friday, Sept. 18, to see if hybrid learning needs to be extended.”

The current positivity rate among those tested in Plymouth County over the last two weeks was 22.4 percent as of 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 1. A rate over 20 percent falls within the substantial uncontrolled outbreak category as determined by the IDPH.

Both MMCRU and Hinton went to 1:1 technology this fall, although backorders for devices mean some students at both schools are still awaiting those.

MMCRU also announced changes to their sporting events which will coincide with the hybrid learning timeline. Those changes will allow only parents and siblings of MMCRU and visiting athletes to games. Spectator families must social distance and sit with their families the entire time and must leave as soon as their athlete is done playing. Masks will be required for all indoor events.