The Manhattan-Ogden school board has heard a plethora of complaints regarding the hybrid learning model. The district has scheduled a special board meeting and work session for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Robinson Education Center, to address concerns brought up by parents and teachers.
Conversation about the hybrid model dominated the first two board meetings of the school year. Parents have spoken out asking the board to open schools five days a week, as they have in several neighboring districts.
Nearly 1,000 people signed an online petition at change.org to voice their support for ending the hybrid model. Many of those who signed also left comments explaining their concerns.
Among the reasons to go back to class full time was the conflict parents have in scheduling work and their child education; and the children’s quality of the education when children are only seeing their teacher on a computer screen for short periods of time.
There are also concerns about socialization, children not getting the help they need when they don’t understand an academic concept and the mental health of the students. More than one parent spoke of the frustration they and their students feel when they struggle with the schoolwork.
Teachers also have spoken out on the difficulties of teaching in the hybrid mode. However, they are reluctant to return to the classroom full time.
At the Sept. 16 board meeting Erin Meyer-Gambrel, NEA president and remote teacher, showed the results of a quick survey she conducted. Teachers overwhelmingly said they did not feel it is safe for them to return to the classroom five days a week.
At that meeting the board voted 6-1, with board member Brandy Santos voting nay, to stay in hybrid until at least Oct. 22.
However, it was clear that changes are needed and the board directed staff to arrange a work session.
“I think we need to be part of the solution … and I think we can’t lay it all on administration,” said Karla Hagemeister, board president. “We’re to a point where we, like many other school districts across the nation, are struggling with this. What I want us to haver is solution-oriented conversation.”