Five days of in-class learning, pending…

School board votes to switch from hybrid to 5-days per week at October board meeting.


Oct. 19 School Board meeting takes place via Zoom.

Rochelle Lawerence, Writer

 On Monday Oct.19, 2020 the Norwin School Board conducted a meeting via Zoom. The meeting was made available to the public and open to public comments.

     The meeting was called to order with 8 of the 9 board members present.The meeting focused on the controversial issue of the District returning to a full 5 day a week of in class learning. This plan would replace the hybrid program, and would still allow for students to stay enrolled or enroll themselves to the Norwin Online Academy. Presently, the Norwin School District is set to open its doors and classrooms to a full 5 day of in class learning plan starting Nov.4.

     The members of the school board were all given an opportunity to state whether or not they were in favor of school reopening for a five day week; this however was not a vote, it was just for the public and the board members themselves to hear where every stood on the topic.

     “I feel the return to five days of face-to-face instruction is what is best for our kids,” said board member Mr. William Essay. “But it may be premature at this time.”

     Three of the 8 members present shared the same view as Mr. Essay, the other 5 were in favor of the full reopening of the district.

      “We as educators understand the importance of in person instruction and how vital it is for a child’s growth, both mentally and socially,” said board member Pat Lynn. “but we also need to remember what our first priority is,” he added, “ in my opinion safety is the first and foremost importance of our children.” 

     On the flip side, 5 board members stated that they were in support of a full reopening of the district.

     “I support going back five days,” said board member Tony Corsa. “You have to figure out what’s best for your family and your children.”

     Other members of the board also shared this idea, some saying the students and parents should be all in or all out. Meaning they have the option to choose the method of learning they are most comfortable with and stick to it.

     “Basically, I think we need to be either all in or all out,” said board president Brian Carlton about sticking to one main method of learning.

     Members of the public were allowed to join the Zoom meeting and voice their concerns about the reopening of school.

     “There are some of my students that have reported that they are actually learning more under the current hybrid system,” said Patrick MacLaughlin, a teacher and parent in the Norwin School District. “Consistency is the most important thing to students at this time,” he said. “ If we continue to have disruptions in the schedule, this would be the most detrimental thing to our students.” 

     Other parents brought up statistics on the number of cases in the surrounding school districts and what that could mean for Norwin.

     “As of this week Quaker Valley School District is closed with 129 students and staff under quarantine all because of only 11 student testing positive for COVID,” said concerned community member Steeve Reece. “We’ve had more students test positive and members of the administration office quarantined,” he said. “ The position to continue on to open school will put us at greater risk for closure”.

     The superintendent of the district was also present at the meeting, he referred to the emails he sent out to the Norwin School District community and covered grants that were allocated to the school for different purposes.

     One grant received by the school is the ESSER Grant which is aimed at covering the costs of providing the school with services like deep cleaning the school, touchless water bottle fillers, technology to help students with the hybrid model and other new improvements that are aimed at reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

     The student representative Salem Taleff also contributed to the meeting, recapping what student life has been like as the first 9-weeks comes to an end.

     “The student council released a survey to all of our high school students with questions regarding our reopening plan,” Taleff said. “An overwhelming majority of students said that in an ideal world a five day in person model is the most effective educational setting. However, when asked about the most effective form of education given our current circumstance: 45% ruled that our hybrid model is the best educational system.”

     The decision to reopen school is being viewed as a fluid situation at the moment, but with Nov. 4 fastly approaching, members of the district must decide what is best for themselves and make the necessary decisions to protect themselves and the people around them.