HELENA — Students in the Helena School District will begin returning to in-person classes four days a week, starting in about a week and a half.
The district board of trustees voted 6-2 Tuesday to shift from Phase 1 of the school reopening plan to a newly revised Phase 2. Helena Public Schools has been in Phase 1 – the “hybrid model” with students in person two days a week and online the other three – since the start of the school year.
Superintendent Tyler Ream recommended the district move into the modified Phase 2. He said it’s become clear that a number of students have fallen behind academically and are suffering socially and emotionally during hybrid instruction. He also said national health guidance is now more supportive of students returning to in-person instruction.
Under the new Phase 2, most students would be on campus at the same time Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. All students would still be in online classes on Wednesday – a “digital day” that Ream said was necessary so teachers can meet the needs of students who continue fully-remote classes through the Digital Learning Initiative.
The board left the timing of the move up to the superintendent. Under Ream’s suggested timeline, the youngest students would start the transition first. He said kindergartners through second graders could begin four-day in-person classes by February 22-nd. Other elementary students could start by March 1, middle schoolers by March 8 and high schoolers by March 15.