When: School District of Lancaster board meeting, Sept. 8.
What happened: The school board voted to allow students with autism, multiple disabilities and those who are in the last year of the Lancaster Living Apartment Program to return to full in-person instruction on Sept. 21.
Background: Lancaster’s 10,600 students began the school year online Aug. 31. Lancaster and Octorara Area are the only public schools serving county students that are fully remote.
Going forward: Every three weeks, after examining local COVID-19 outbreak data, the district will decide if it is safe to phase in students using a hybrid model — both in-person instruction and online learning. The first group to make the transition would be students in kindergarten, and Buehrle, Phoenix, NEWCOMER, DASH, and some Career Technology Education programs. They will return to their schools for two days of in-person instruction and complete the rest of their work at home with three days of online learning.
Public: During the meeting, the public could submit comments through an online forum or speak at the meeting after staff sanitized the microphone. Seven people submitted comments about the board’s vote to resume in-person learning. Five of the comments favored in-person instruction, and one of them was employee April Kirk. Another employee wrote that she worried about a COVID-19 outbreak, and it was too soon to go back to the classroom.
Quotable: “These past few days of virtual instruction have proven to not be a successful or equitable platform for a majority of our students, especially our youngest learners,” Kirk wrote. “If we are to provide all students with equal opportunities, families should have the right to decide if their children would be better served through in-person instruction or through a hybrid model. The first week of virtual learning has resulted in frustrated primary teachers, frustrated parents, and frustrated students.”
What’s next: The board will meet at 7 p.m. Sept.15, with limited seating in the media center of the McCaskey East High School building, 1051 Lehigh Ave. The public can still watch it livestream on the district website.