DOYLESTOWN, PA — The Central Bucks School District has adjusted its plans for the fall school year, and now will offer two options for learning: hybrid or online only.
Superintendent John J. Kopicki said Friday families will be asked to choose their preferred option for the start of the 2020-21 school year, which will begin on Aug. 31.
The district had initially intended to offer a full in-person learning option, but new guidelines from the state Department of Education released Thursday will prevent that plan from being feasible, officials said.
“While our planning teams were working to finalize plans to offer families a traditional option that would have students in school five days per week, revised recommendations and procedures were released from the governor and the Pennsylvania Department of Education,” Kopicki said.
“As a result, it became clear to our leadership that given the space limitations within our 23 schools, it would be impossible to offer a traditional option and meet the social distancing requirements included in the orders.”
In the hybrid option, students will receive in-person instruction two days per week, and a combination of live and online instruction during the other three days.
A cyber option will be also be offered. Students who select that method of learning will participate in 100 percent online instruction five days a week.
Students with Individualized Education Plans will have the option to attend in-person four or five days.
More details will be provided to families prior to registration, which will begin July 22.
It was not immediately clear how long the district intends to operate on the hybrid and online models, or when it anticipates students could return to classroom full time. Patch is working to obtain more details.
The updated guidance released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education clarifies that students must wear masks at all times during the school day, except when eating, drinking or situated 6 feet apart. The guidance also includes new recommendations on social distancing, transportation safety, and procedures in the event a student or staff member becomes infected.
The district continues to work on its state-mandated health and safety plan. The Central Bucks school board is expected to consider the plan during a special meeting on July 21.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union implored state officials to direct public schools to plan for an online start to school if the spread of the coronavirus doesn’t slow by the fall.
Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey, in a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, said it is “extremely important for Pennsylvania’s public schools to plan for the distinct possibility that further increases in COVID-19 cases will make it impossible to safely reopen Pennsylvania’s schools for in-person instruction.”
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This article originally appeared on the Doylestown Patch