Abingdon-Avon school board weighing options for reopening in the fall

Decisions on what to do this fall are coming for all area schools as districts try and navigate life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

School board members for the Abingdon-Avon School District 276 will have to come to a conclusion on what path to follow as they workshop four different options presented at Wednesday’s meeting by Superintendent Dr. Mike Curry.

Dr. Curry says that the district has to consider limited space while maintaining social distancing, along with the transportation of students while trying to maintain social distancing, understanding that in-class learning is best for kids, and considering the health and safety of both students and teachers.

“There’s obviously all-in with social distancing and masks,” Curry tells WGIL. “A hybrid/blended situation where you’ve got part of your kids in for certain days and the other part of your kids in during other days. That’s the mantra throughout the country right now. [There is a] split option where certain grade levels might be remote all the time and other grade levels might be in person. Again, that’s better for our [lack of] space… and then there’s just full remote. And, none of those are great options.”

He acknowledged that in-person learning is what’s best for students, but with the lack of space in the buildings and the need to practice social distancing and the wearing of masks, he said it was the most difficult to achieve. He added that remote learning would be the easiest for the district to pull off.

What are the parents’ thoughts?

Curry says that the district surveyed parents and had 370 responses, covering about 700 students, and the results were overwhelmingly against a full return.

“About 80 percent of our parents stated that they would choose remote or a blended option over 100 percent full in-person. So that was an eye-opener for the board that not everybody is 100 percent on coming back.”

Curry said that some of the reasons parents were against returning were over the mask mandate and the understanding that the severity of the virus is real.

A special board meeting will be scheduled for either July 22 or 29 for the board to make their decision.

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