Students are dismissed from Waller Elementary School in Burlington Tuesday. Burlington Area School District students in grades K-6 have attended class five days per week in a modified setting since school began in August. Students in grades 7-12, who have been on a hybrid schedule since August, are slated to return to full in-person instruction Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

District unveils plan for return to full-time class

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

The Burlington Area School District unveiled plans on how students in grades seven through 12 will return to class beginning on April 6.

The unveiling comes after the School Board voted to return students to five in-person learning days a week at a March 8 meeting, where members learned virtual, or remote learning, would not be offered under the plan.

Since March 2020, BHS students have been in virtual or hybrid instructional models, and the return to full in-person instruction reflects the relatively low number of COVID-19 cases within the district and general community.

“The numbers will continue to be monitored. Further, staff will have had the opportunity to receive both doses of the vaccine,” states the email, which was also posted on the district website.

“In-person instruction to end the school year will help rebuild the learning culture, will help students needing more in-person instruction succeed and allows students the social interaction many have missed over the past year.”

In an email to parents on March 25, Burlington High School Principal Eric Burling told parents the plan titled “Rebuilding Our Learning Culture” will consist of high school students using a four-period block schedule while seventh and eighth graders will have a seven-period structure, both of which will be at Burlington High School.

“BHS will continue to use healthy practices to reduce the risk of spreading COVID in the school,” states the email.

For students in kindergarten through sixth grade, the five-day instructional model that has been in place most of the school year will continue, but it also means the A&B cohorts will merge more frequently as a full classes.

Reiterating safe practices

The School District asked families to reinforce best health practices with their children to keep the doors open for in-person instruction.

Best health practices include continuing to wear masks covering both nose and mouth except when eating or drinking, staying at home when feeling sick and engage in virtual school work if possible, students eating personal food items and refrain from sharing, using individual water bottles, and frequent hand washing or sanitizing.

The district also encouraged students to be mindful of social distancing practices when engaging with others to reduce potential COVID-19 exposure.

District officials previously said the trade-off for five days in-person instruction is requiring a 14-day quarantine, if a student or staff member tests positive, which could potentially force a return to a hybrid model should staffing be significantly impacted.

For the full story, including details of the plan to return to full in-person class, see the April 1 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.