Wayzata Schools Propose Hybrid Learning Model for 2020-2021 School Year
Students in the Wayzata School District would begin the 2020-2021 school year using a hybrid model, with the option of opting into a full-time distance learning program, if the school board adopts a recommendation presented by Superintendent Chase Anderson.
Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Anderson presented his recommendation to the Wayzata School Board during a work session.
Under the superintendent’s plan, all students in grades K-12 will practice in-person (at school) learning two days a week and distance learning (at home) three days a week.
For any families who are not comfortable with hybrid or in-person learning, the district is offering an online learning option called Wayzata Distance Choice.
“We’re looking forward to when we do open the doors, and the start of a new school year this year, although it will be different,” said Superintendent Anderson. “At the same time, we’re going to embrace it and do our very best to create a great experience for all of our students, and a great place to work for all of our staff.”
Districtwide, students in a household will be assigned to an A or B group across grade levels. Group A students would be in class on Monday and Wednesday. Group B students would be in class on Tuesday and Thursday. Both groups would take part in distance learning on Friday.
Wayzata Decision Based on State Guidance
Plymouth resident Shellie Bechtold has a son who will be a senior at Wayzata High School in the fall.
“It’s very frustrating that it’s taken so long to come up with this,” Bechtold said of the announcement. “You’re at a high school with 3,500 kids, you know you’re not going back in the classroom. But it’s taken this long that it’s hard now to do anything different.”
The superintendent’s recommendation was based on state guidelines announced by Governor Tim Walz last week. The learning model parameters are aligned to the number of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents for the county where the school district is located.
The parameters outlined in the state’s Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21 are as follows:
- 0-9 COVID-19 cases per 10,000
- In-person learning for all students
- 10-19 COVID-19 cases per 10,000
- In-person learning for elementary students
- Hybrid learning for secondary students
- 20-29 COVID-19 cases per 10,000
- Hybrid learning for all students
- 30-49 COVID-19 cases per 10,000
- Hybrid learning for elementary students
- Distance learning for secondary students
- 50+ COVID-19 cases per 10,000
- Distance learning for all students
The current number of cases per 10,000 residents in Hennepin County is 20.93
“Even though we’re zeroing in on this hybrid model that’s consistent with today’s data, we don’t know at this point what the end of August will look like, or early September. So we’re going to continue to monitor this,” Anderson said. “And much like we encourage families on the front end of winter to have contingency plans for snow days, I would keep your contingency plans up to date. It could pivot relatively quickly.”
Bechtold appeared frustrated that the district was telling families to prepare for a worst-case scenario, rather than providing hope for the possibility that in-person learning could resume.
“If in two weeks, we’re down below 20 [cases per 10,000] and the following two weeks we’re down below 20, are we going to go back to the full in-class?” Bechtold asked during a phone interview. “I feel like kids particularly need to have some kind of hope that, okay, in a month we’re going to revisit this and it’s possible that we can go back in the classroom in a month.”
Families can provide feedback on the school district’s initial plan via a survey that will be open through Aug. 8 at noon. The Wayzata School Board will take action on the initial recommendation at its Aug. 10 meeting at 7 p.m.
Watch the Wayzata School Board Work Session Here: