Vancouver Public Schools pushes pause on plan to offer hybrid learning model


The decision came after the teacher’s union and a number of parents expressed concerns about the Sept. 29 start date

VANCOUVER — Vancouver Public Schools announced Friday they are delaying a potential move to a hybrid learning model for elementary grade students.

The Jim Parsley Center in Vancouver. Home of the Vancouver Public Schools administrative offices. File photo
The Jim Parsley Center in Vancouver. Home of the Vancouver Public Schools administrative offices. File photo

The about-face came 24 hours after the district notified parents they would need to decide by Monday, Sept. 21 whether their student would remain in a fully online learning environment, or switch to a hybrid model as early as Sept. 29.

In a statement on Friday, the district said they were postponing plans to begin offering hybrid learning, following a letter from the Vancouver Education Association, the union representing teachers and other certificated staff, expressing concerns about readiness to offer in-person learning. The district noted that they also received many comments and questions from parents.

The district had been planning to offer smaller groups of students the opportunity to attend a physical classroom two days a week, from 8:30 a.m. until 1:50 p.m., with all students doing fully remote learning on Wednesdays. 

A proposed hybrid class schedule released by Vancouver Public Schools. The district has delayed implementation of the model due to concerns. Image courtesy Vancouver Public Schools
A proposed hybrid class schedule released by Vancouver Public Schools. The district has delayed implementation of the model due to concerns. Image courtesy Vancouver Public Schools

In its statement, the district said the delay will give them time for concerns and questions to be addressed and Clark County COVID-19 case data to be monitored before a start date for hybrid learning is set.

The state requires counties to be in a moderate risk range for COVID-19 growth, defined as anything under 75 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. Clark County has been under 70 cases per 100,000 residents since mid-August, but Clark County Public Health Officer. Dr. Alan Melnick said he wanted to see that rate stay below 75 for at least three weeks following the Labor Day weekend before recommending that districts can begin allowing students back in class.

The plan has raised questions for teachers and the unions that represent them, primarily around how districts would handle educators who fall into high risk categories, or how an outbreak at a school would be handled.

Vancouver Public Schools said they will continue working with parents and teachers to refine their plan before announcing a future start date for hybrid education.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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