South Bend Schools Provides More Details On In-Person Return To Classes

Sep 10, 2020

South Bend Community School Corporation
Credit JUSTIN HICKS / WVPE PUBLIC RADIO

In a virtual board meeting Wednesday night, South Bend school leaders introduced plans to return to in-person learning. Chief Academic Officer Brandon White and Assistant Superintendent Rene Sanchez proposed that students be divided into three priority groups. 

The first to return would be students enrolled in career-technical and special-education programs. The second would be students entering a new school building, or pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade students. 

The final phase would gradually bring back all students on a hybrid learning model. Grades pre-kindergarten through five would have the opportunity to attend in-person class from Monday to Friday, while grades six through 12 would attend either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. All students from grades six to twelve would participate in e-learning on Wednesdays. 

“We would bring these groups back gradually and continue to monitor data as we bring back students to ensure the safety and health of all,” White said.

White emphasized that all K-12 students would still have the option to attend school fully online. 

“We want to continue to let parents know that we believe they are the best individuals to make the decisions for their students and their learning environment,” White said. “Therefore, we will continue to offer e-learning throughout our time introducing and continuing thereafter as we introduce face-to-face.”

White said that all dates are contingent on health data and collaboration within the school community. The board will determine whether it is safe to return to in-person learning at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 21.

“It’s going to take all of us to make this happen, so we’re looking forward for feedback, we’re looking forward for input, and we’re also going to do our best to touch base with other districts and their best practices so that we can learn from them,” said Superintendent Todd Cummings.