Region 16 board OKs change to middle school hybrid model

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

PROSPECT — Starting Oct. 5, Long River Middle School students will have in-person classes four days a week.

Since Region 16 schools opened in early September, middle school students have been following a hybrid model of learning that divided them into two groups. Students attend school in-person two days a week — either on a Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday schedule — and distance learn the other days.

Woodland Regional High School students are following the same model, while elementary school students attend school in-person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

All students in the region remote learn at home on Wednesdays, which are half days.

Starting next week, middle school students will switch to the same model as the two elementary schools in the region, which is comprised of Beacon Falls and Prospect.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said he feels the district is doing well with the protocols in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and it’s important to have students learning in classrooms.

“We want kids in school in-person learning as much as possible,” he said.

Yamin said there is enough space at the middle school to keep students socially distant. He said two Algebra classes will be moved to larger rooms and the district is buying additional partitions for inside the cafeteria and the tents outside for lunch waves.

The high school, though, is not in the same boat.

Yamin said many of the classrooms at the high school are too small for all students to return and maintain social distance. He said it’s likely the high school will continue as is until the social distance guidelines are lifted.

The Region 16 Board of Education approved the change to the middle school schedule at its Sept. 23 meeting.

Parents have the option to keep their children home and do all remote learning. The region asks parents to give at least two weeks’ notice if they decide to pull their child out of school for remote learning.

The board last week waived the requirement for middle school students for the upcoming change since it was approved 10 days before the new schedule goes into effect.