January 25, 2021

The Hybrid Learning Format continues to be the chosen model of instruction at St. James Middle School and John F. Hodge High School. Hybrid learning is a combination of in-class and online learning. This style of instruction uses online resources to replace portions of students’ instruction that would otherwise be delivered face-to-face. The primary reason we turned to hybrid learning was to reduce the number of students in the buildings at one time. The school week is divided into two groups with half the students in the building while the other half is learning online. With fewer numbers of students in class, there is more of an opportunity for social distancing. Flexibility of the hybrid model is its greatest benefit. Over the past few weeks, we have been able to successfully flex more than half of our students into the middle school and high school buildings each day. Students struggling with the hybrid schedule have been given opportunities to come to school every day and even on Fridays to ensure they stay caught up. Parents or students requesting additional support have been permitted to attend Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, teachers are connecting virtually with students who have missing assignments and guiding them through the completion of their work. Teachers and administrators are constantly monitoring the ICU lists to see who is falling behind. Teachers and administrators are also making contact with parents early and often when their students begin to struggle due to the loss of in-seat time. Teachers are also providing after school tutoring even on the students’ days off. Although this is not the most ideal learning environment, we continue to do everything possible to provide appropriate learning opportunities while simultaneously and responsibly maximizing social distancing.  

It remains our goal to return to full seated instruction in the very near future. Health department recommendations and local data have started to support that students may return to full seated instruction with safety risks being minimized. Through all of the COVID related adjustments, we must not forget our number one priority of providing the appropriate educational, social and emotional support for our students. We are ready to have all students back on campus in all buildings five days a week. We are presently looking at a possible return to full seated instruction in the next few weeks. This decision will be made after analyzing the most updated county and state numbers, along with careful consideration of our unique district situations. We will also seek the recommendation and approval from the health department before a final determination is made. As a reminder, a week’s notice will be given prior to the official return to full seated instruction. 

While St. James R-I Schools will follow the recommendations of the health department, we want to reassure all parents that you still have the option to keep your children home in a virtual learning format for the remainder of the school year. We will continue to support remote learning through our technology and advanced devices. To help us prepare, we are asking all parents to contact the principal’s office to let them know if you wish your children to go to full virtual upon our eventual return to full seated instruction. 

As we begin transitioning back, we must continue doing our part to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is essential that we continue to practice the safety protocols in place. All buildings will continue to monitor the health of students and staff returning to school. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and support through all of the constant notifications and scheduling modifications.