WORTHINGTON The members of the Independent School District 518 School Board and administration understand how important to student learning in-person class attendance is. It is the goal of ISD 518 to allow students as much in-person learning time as is safely possible. To this end, the district has planned and the board has approved a calendar for the month of January that puts District 518 on the path toward increased in-person learning for all students.

Currently, the district is in what has been deemed the “25% model.” This model splits all students into four learning groups and assigns each group specific days of the week that they will be attending in-person classes. The in-person learning days for each group differs slightly from building to building during the 25% model. This is the model that was used at the beginning of the school year.

In the 25% model, Prairie Elementary and Learning Center students from groups one and three attend classes in-person on Mondays and Thursdays while group two and four students attend classes in-person on Tuesdays and Fridays. Worthington Middle School and Worthington High School students from group one attend in-person classes on Mondays, group two on Tuesdays, group three on Thursdays, and group four on Fridays. Wednesdays are set aside for students to use to catch up if they have fallen behind, as well as for extra cleaning and sanitation in district buildings.

According to the approved calendar, beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 19, more students will be moved to an in-person learning model. At Prairie Elementary, all students from kindergarten to second grade will attend in-person classes everyday, including Wednesdays, while all other ISD 518 students (grades three through 12), will continue to follow the current schedule of the 25% model. Monday, Jan. 18 has been set aside as a staff in-service and transition day as members of the hard-working District 518 staff prepare for more students to be in district facilities participating in in-person learning.

Beginning the week of Monday, Jan. 25, the district will be moving to a “50% model.” This model continues with all kindergarten through second grade students attending in-person classes every day and also brings more middle and high school students into district buildings. The 50% model will have all students in third through t2th grades from groups one and three attend in-person classes on Mondays and Thursdays and students from groups two and four attend in-person classes on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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Looking at the following week and the beginning of February, it is the district’s plan to have all Prairie Elementary students (kindergarten through fourth grade) attending in-person classes every day of the week while students grades five through 12th continue the 50% model.

These changes to less restrictive learning models allowing for more student students to attend classes in-person have been approved by the ISD 518 School Board. All changes to less restrictive models need to be approved by the school board before they may be implemented. If required due to the protection of student and staff health and safety, ISD 518 administration may move to a more restrictive (less in-person class time for students) model. It is the goal of the ISD 518 School Board and administration to have as many students as safely possible participating in in-person classes.

Parker Sandhurst is District 518's communications coordinator.