Thursday, May 13, 2021


 See this weeks print edition  

for these stories:


  • Tribe Softball Maintains Division Lead.
  • Tribe Lacrosse Loses to Phoenixville.
  • Doubles Teams Lead Tribe to Victory.
  • Stoudt, Kachmar Start Seasons.
  • Area Bowling Results
  • And much more!







News Article
Return to Previous Page

UPSD Leaning Towards Hybrid Learning Model
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Students in the Upper Perkiomen School District could be allowed to return to in-person learning at the end of next month. Last week, Superintendent Allyn Roche informed the school board that administrators currently favor a proposal shifting towards a hybrid model.

            During the Oct. 8 regular meeting, the board directed administrators to continue investigating the option to allow four days of synchronous learning, including two days of instruction in front of a live teacher, for all students. Following a long discussion, they also asked district officials to continue investigating the possibility of implementing full in-person learning for all elementary students.

            The board is expected to formally consider a shift from the current 100 percent virtual to a hybrid learning model, following a final administrative presentation, during an Oct. 22 workshop meeting. Administrators expect to provide the educational options and price tag for each option, according to Assistant Superintendent Andrea Farina.

            The change could commence on Nov. 30.  In July, the board voted to approve a full virtual instructional model for the initial nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year due to concerns over COVID-19.

            More than eight out of every 10 respondents, 81 percent, in a recent parent/guardian survey expressed a preference for some-kind of in-person instruction. The survey accounted for 56 percent of the district's students, 1,823 out of 3,283, according to Roche. He said a parent declaration, required for all students, will be determinative.

            Administrators are currently programming for approximately 17 students per classroom, according to the superintendent. He added that the district will maintain the 100 percent virtual learning option regardless of any future instructional shifts.

            In Montgomery County, the number of new cases per 100,000 residents decreased from 38.1 to 27 during the week ending Sept. 25, then jumped back up to 36.2 percent for the week ending Oct. 2. The positivity rate dropped from 3.0 percent to 2.3 percent, then increased to 2.5 percent during each week. In Berks County, the transmission rate dropped from 63.1 percent to 4.7 percent during the week ending Oct. 2, according to a presentation to the board.

            Roche and Farina reminded the board that a transition would be influenced by the rate of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Berks counties. For the implementation of a hybrid model, cases must be between 10 and 100 per 100,000 residents or the positivity rate should be between five and 10 percent over a seven-day period, according to standards set by the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health. When the case rate reaches 100 cases per 100,000 residents, or the positivity rate gets to 10 percent, full remote is required.

            For the district's elementary students, administrators described the full on-line teaching method as less than ideal due to their developmental and academic needs. Under a hybrid model, described in the presentation as more preferred, students in kindergarten through fifth grade would engage in two days of face-to-face and two days of virtual learning. Students will attend according to an alphabetical division. Wednesday would remain an independent learning day to allow deep cleaning of the schools, according to the presentation.

            Approval of the hybrid approach would add $150,000 in additional personnel costs and $140,238 in extra nursing support. The shift would also likely lead to new classroom teachers for students.

            Under a full face-to-face option, which would include five full days of instruction, the district expects to spend an additional $325,000 in new personnel as well as $140,238 in extra nursing support.

            Under both circumstances, the district could be forced to pay $16,800 in leave expenses to teachers. A survey found that six professionals expressed an intent to apply for leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), according to Farina. Administrators estimate the need to hire six long-term substitutes at a cost of $17,000.

            Students at the middle school and high school would follow the same schedule. Those at home would join their classes virtually and maintain their current teachers. Students attending the Western Montgomery County Technical Career Center would not be affected by the shift.

            Implementation of the hybrid model would require the district to spend an additional $325,000 to hire new teachers. Thirteen contracted staff members are eligible to apply for the FFCRA at the potential cost of $16,800, according to the presentation.

            "There are no great choices. No perfect solutions," Roche said. "I'm proud of the efforts our team has made. They have worked tirelessly to come up with these options."

            After the presentation, a majority of the members asked the board to examine the options to allow its elementary students to attend in-person classes five days a week. Vice President Mike Elliot, Judy Maginnis, Stephen Cunningham, Melanie Cunningham and Keith McCarrick said they might consider requiring the middle and high schools to remain 100 percent virtual to make that happen.






Join our Business Directory today and get the introductory rate for a full year.
Click Here.


Home Editorial
News Photos
Sports Business Directory
Obituaries Classified Ads
Calendar Contact Us
  Advertise with the Town & Country... It's the weekly paper that people read, not just look at!  Click here to learn more or sign up.   Serving the municipalities of Bally, East Greenville, Green Lane, Hereford, Lower Salford, Marlborough, Milford, New Hanover, Pennsburg, Red Hill, Trumbauersville, Upper Hanover, Upper Salford
The Town & Country is now available at 64 locations throughout the region! Pick up your copy at any of the locations here, or better yet, have it delivered directly to your mailbox!  Click here to subscribe.

Local News for Local Readers since 1899.
© Copyright 2009 and Terms of Use
Site Design by Bergey Creative Group