School officials are longer advising students to choose their blended learning model.

The blended model was one of three learning options Tangipahoa Parish School System announced during the summer for while the pandemic remains active. Each option was advertised to offer Tier I curriculum.

While students have enrolled and started the full virtual and traditional models, the blended model is no longer on the table, except in specific cases.

“We really do not have the data to show if students will regress in that,” Superintendent Melissa Stilley said Tuesday.

In that model, the parent and child could decide which days the student attends in-person; but assignments are still given in the classroom on days the student is not there, she said.

The blended model may be best for a student with health issues, but it is not recommended for all students because there is a possibility for learning gaps and regression, she said.

A small part of the school system’s CARES Act money was used to hire a consultant who, after some discussion with staff, advised the district against the blended model until more data become available.

As for the full virtual option, Stilley stressed that the Tier 1 curriculum and sequence are the same as in the physical classroom.

Almost 3,000 K-6th grade students are participating in the full virtual learning model. Two elementary sites each have over 300 kids attending class this way. About 1,000 7th-12th grade students have signed up to participate.

“Perception is if you’re not zooming you’re not doing virtual; that is inaccurate,” Stilley said. “Virtual platform is built with content embedded. Just because a student doesn’t have a zoom meeting doesn’t mean virtual (learning) is not happening. Full virtual option does require students to work independently…”

Administrators are working with principals to see how their staffs can help support their site’s students who are participating fully virtual.

Schools will intervene and let students return to in-person classes this semester if they are struggling or failing their virtual classes. Otherwise, students will remain virtual for the semester and can return to in-person classes in January if they choose, Stilley said.

The district’s goal remains getting all of its students back in the building. However, the current 75 percent bus capacity presents a problem.

Officials are aware high school students drive or ride to school, so they will begin a bus count next week to see if there is enough space to add high schoolers back full-time, she added.

“I encourage you if you can, and have the resources to do so, help us out this time during Phase III with carpool, so we can get all our kids back on campus,” Stilley said.

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