LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - On Monday night the Superintendent for Lexington Richland School District 5 announced plans to move into Phase 2 of reopening.
The district is currently operating in a hybrid model where students attend half the week in person and the other half virtually. The new plan will bring back K-2nd graders four days a week.
Many parents were protesting ahead of tonight’s meeting for five days a week in person, but other parents say a gradual reopening is better than nothing at all.
“We’ll take what we can get, but the phasing part doesn’t work for all of the families,” LR5 parent Jennifer Valek said.
The new model gives a five-phase reopening timeline, with phase two beginning next Monday.
“We do things to be safe in our operations, and responsive to our community,” Lexington Richland School District 5 Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton said.
During phase two kindergarten through 2nd graders will head back to the classroom 4 days a week on Oct. 5., during phase three 3rd through 6th graders will return on Oct. 19, and during phase four 7th through 12th graders will return on Nov 9.
“I support that, but I don’t know its necessary. What we’ve done so far has showed that the school system itself isn’t really increasing the exposure and risk for our children for COVID,” Sarah Ivling, an LR 5 Parent, said.
Dr. Christina Melton said the model brings students back first who need it the most.
“We have a great developmental need at our earliest levels, where our teachers may not have necessarily had the variety training that our secondary teachers have had for virtual learning and teaching, where our students may not be ready,” Dr. Melton said.
David Clifton said his kindergartener and first-grader need to be in the classroom.
“They are at a prime age where they are starting to do things like reading and doing math, and the teachers are frustrated,” David Clifton, an LR 5 Parent, said.
For many parents, it gives clarity they’ve been seeking from the district for weeks.
“We’d love to just know what the plan is so we can prepare our kids and prepare our families,” Valek said.
Melton stressed that they have been listening to parents and are ready to move forward.
“I appreciate the emails, the outreach the context that’s been provided to me, the stories shared with vulnerability, all of that helps us make sure we are student-centered and staff supported,” Melton said.
Wednesday will continue to be a virtual day so that the building can be cleaned and sanitized. District officials said students enrolled in the hybrid model or virtual academy can apply to change to a different model but the virtual academy is currently at capacity.