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Lex-Rich 5 switches to hybrid model to start school year

"I felt confident that we could offer a five-day on site traditional model," says Dr. Melton. "Things have changed."

IRMO, S.C. — Lexington-Richland School District Five is considering a hybrid model to the start of the school year.

On Thursday, dozens of parents and teachers gathered at Spring Hill High School to express their concern for the district's original five-day in-person plan that was announced last week.

"We want virtual until safe," says Peter Lauzon, science teacher and president of the Lex-Rich 5 Education Association. "We need to get our numbers down statewide. Our county is a hot spot right now and for anyone to be going face-to-face is ridiculous." 

"We understand that this re-entry is a slow phase-in and it will eventually be face to face every day," says Trudy Rhodes, a parent of a sixth grade student. "We want that, but we want it at a normal pace."

The district heard their concerns. During the special-called school board meeting, Dr. Christina Melton announced the reason why they switched to the hybrid model to start.

"I felt confident that we could offer a five day on site traditional model," says Dr. Melton, superintendent. "If you monitored data like we have, things have changed."

The hybrid schooling will allow students in person classes for two days and three days of Elearning away from the classroom.

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Lex-Rich Five will also offer a full virtual academy, where students will be enrolled in the academy for the full 2020-2021 school year, but could make changes after the first quarter or first semester of school.

The plan can be found here.

Although the plan is geared to be a compromise for the district, parents did speak out encouraging the school district to stick with the five-day in-person model.

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"No plan is perfect and I respect that, but what interpreted this evening was a bit of a dismissal of people who are in a very real unsustainable position of attempting to pretend teach at home," says April Donnelly, a parent of two elementary school children, who works full-time. "A hybrid model only extends the difficulty that working parents have because we now have to manage multiple days of different options." 

"I also am a working parent, I am an essential worker," says Stephanie Lipford, mother of two. "I work outside the home. I can't do my job from home.I'm also advocating that Since we are going to have this hybrid model, that  they do more flexible hours for the virtual options to help us working parents."

The district hopes that students can move to a five-day in-person model by October 8th.

The school year is expected to start on September 8th.

To view the plan, click here.