Salem City Schools plan to return students to in-person learning with four-day per week hybrid instruction

(Photo: Courtesy Salem City Schools)

(Photo: Courtesy Salem City Schools)

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — Salem City Schools are planning to implement a four-day per week hybrid instruction for students in grades 3-12. This plan is pending school board approval.

If the plan is approved, hybrid students in grades 3-12 will be expected to attend school four days per week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday — beginning Monday, March 22. However, online learning will continue on Wednesdays.

In addition, the all-online option will continue to be available to current online students and any students who are not comfortable returning to school as a result of increased attendance.

Salem school officials are basing their decision on the county view of the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, which says there have been 19 new COVID-19 cases in Salem over the past seven days. This number is the equivalent of 75 cases per 100,000 people, which the school district says significantly lower than the threshold of 100 between the higher risk and highest risk levels. 

“When you combine this information with our ability to implement layered mitigation strategies, the positive impact of in-person instruction, and the needs of our students, we are confident that we can and should increase student attendance, Salem City Schools said in an email to families on Thursday, March 4.

Face coverings and masks will be required at all times and must be worn properly on school property. The only exception is while eating lunch.

School officials say that, while physical distance is important, students and staff may be less than six feet away from each other in many classrooms. Social distancing will be provided to the fullest extent possible.

Each school will develop a plan that will provide six feet of physical distancing during meals.

Families who can provide transportation for students are encouraged to do so to allow for maximum physical distancing on school buses.

Families who choose to change their mode of instruction will have until Wednesday, March 10 to notify their respective schools. Students who choose to return from online instruction will be allowed to do so based on available space. Students will be able to change their mode of instruction from in-person to online after that date, but returning from online instruction to in-person instruction may be limited after March 10.

At this time, there is no change planned for students in grades PK – 2.

Salem City Schools will continue to monitor local COVID-19 conditions in the community and the impact of in-person instruction on students and staff. 

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