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MPUSD prepares for hybrid learning

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KION

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is planning for a return to part-time in-person instruction starting in April.

Under current plans, the district will begin allowing elementary students to return to the classroom on April 8 and phase in higher grade levels in the following weeks, now that Monterey County is moving to the red tier.

MPUSD HYBRID LEARNING START DATES:
-April 8/9 Preschool, TK-5th grades
-April 12 6th, 9th, and 10th grades
-April 19 7th, 8th, 11th and 12th grades

Students in all grade levels will start off the day at home with four hours of distance learning and then come to school two days a week for about two hours of in-person instruction.

The students would be split into two groups: Group A and Group B. Group A would come to school Monday and Tuesday. Group B would come to school Thursday and Friday.

But some parents are speaking out with concerns about this model.

Under MPUSD’s hybrid model, students can come to school two days a week for part-time in-person instruction, which is about two hours in the classroom a day.

Parents can choose if they want their students to join in hybrid learning or remain in distance learning.

Image Credit: Monterey Peninsula Unified School District

Some parents were hoping to have at least two full days of in-person instruction with the ultimate goal of full-time instruction five days a week.

They say this version of the hybrid model doesn’t work for parents juggling a full-time job.

“I think it’s very hard for parents to drive the kids to and from school for just two hours of in-person instruction two days a week, especially if they have multiple kids in different schools,” parent Anna Bologova said.

MPUSD’s Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh told KION they chose this model for a few reasons including making sure students weren’t separated from their teachers.

“Coming in the afternoon, in person time, the benefit of that is teachers and students stay together and families don’t have their schedules disrupted,” Diffenbaugh said.

He also said the district wanted to balance in-person learners and distance learners. Diffenbaugh told KION 40 percent of parents said their kids won’t be returning no matter what model they chose.

But some parents are concerned about the learning and psychological challenges of continuing distance learning even longer.

“There’s no replacement for actually being in the classroom with teachers, with other kids, just having that whole experience, right now, that I feel like our kids are going to be a year behind all the other kids that have been back to school,” parent and teacher Nicole Amaral said.

Parents created a petition on change.org to reopen for in-person full-time instruction for fall 2021.

Diffenbaugh said social distancing guidelines are keeping them from bringing back students full-time right now, but said this is a plan to get them through the rest of the academic year.

“Look, this is for 7 or 8 weeks. This is not the model we’re choosing for the long term. This is to end the year strong,” he said.

We're told the district expects to be back in-person five days a week come fall. 

Parents plan to rally in support of full-time in-person instruction on Sunday morning in Monterey.

To view MPUSD's hybrid learning plan, click here: https://www.mpusd.net/apps/news/article/1402171

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Elisha Machado

Elisha Machado is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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