After fall break, Oak Ridge Schools will continue using in-person instruction for students from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade and staggered schedules for students in fifth grade to 12th grade, Superintendent Bruce Borchers said Tuesday.
The younger students have five days of in-person instruction per week, while the older students have staggered schedules: two days of in-person instruction and three days of online learning per week.
In a letter to staff members and families on Tuesday, Borchers said school staff and students have kept the spread of COVID-19 low during the first term using contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; practicing good personal hygiene such as hand washing; maintaining physical distances and wearing face masks; and providing or being able to use hand sanitizing stations and clean facilities.
The school system hopes its measures will continue to keep the spread of COVID-19 low, Borchers said.
It’s not clear when all students might return to a full-time schedule. Borchers said that decision will be guided by data.
The five days of instruction per week is for students at the preschool and four elementary schools.
The mix of in-person classes and online instruction, the staggered schedules, is for students at the two middle schools and high school. These students are attending classes two days a week in person and attending classes online the other three days. Half of the students at the middle schools and high school are attending on Mondays and Thursdays, while the other half are attending on Tuesdays and Fridays.
There is another option that was available to all students, an online-only option called ConnectOR.
Early in this first term, Oak Ridge Today reported that about four out of five students in Oak Ridge Schools were using the in-person option (five days per week for younger students and staggered schedules for the older students), while one out of five students had registered for the online-only option.
The new school attendance schedules and options this year were in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early in the term, the school system was showing a total enrollment of more than 4,600 students. It’s not been clear how many families have selected a home school option during the COVID-19 pandemic.