Mount Gilead Schools opt for four day a week in-person instruction

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — The Mount Gilead School Board heard comments concerning in-person learning from parents, teachers and administrators at their Jan. 19 meeting.

The District is presently in “hybrid” learning with children attending school 2 days per week with Wednesdays used for teacher planning.

Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said he has gotten calls from parents who prefer to remain hybrid as well as those who want to return to in-person learning.

Parents spoke at the meeting who are very concerned their children are falling behind in their studies. They feel they are failing as teachers and it is causing distress for them and their children not to have more classroom instruction.

Teachers commented, one saying they preferred to remain hybrid to keep planning time and be able to remain in school with some consistency rather than risk quarantining. The other teacher prefers in-person and feels that it’s time to go back to five days a week.

The administration and school board released the following plan Wednesday, Jan. 27:

In-person instruction

The Mount Gilead Schools will return to face-to-face instruction for all in-person students beginning Monday, Feb. 1. However, the decision has been made that instead of a five day a week schedule, the district will return in-person for four days a week with Wednesday being a remote learning day.

This schedule will be in place for the third grading period (Feb. 1-March 26) and will be re-evaluated prior to the fourth grading period. Wednesdays will be used for deeper cleaning, and also provide opportunities for teachers to work individually with students needing additional instruction.

Zimmerman noted that the change to full in-person learning makes the district more consistent with other surrounding school districts and will provide students the opportunity for more instructional opportunities.

‘Pros and cons’

“We all understand that any decision comes with pros and cons. There have been no easy decisions and no 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong decisions,” Zimmerman said.

“As we have done all year, our work will be to make this transition as safe and healthy as possible for all students and staff.”

Zimmerman asked parents to contact building principals immediately if they prefer a remote learning model to the four day in-person instruction.

In other business:

• The board approved the financial report presented by Clerk-treasurer Tina Gabler.

• Gabler reported there are still funds to be used in several grants before the end of August 2021. The grants are in several categories and some can be carried over to the next year.

• Zimmerman reported on two resignations. girls’ 8th grade basketball coach Devon Sergent, effective Jan. 2, 2021, and School Psychologist Tabitha Walls, effective July 31, 2021.

• The posting for head football coach has closed. Thirty have applied for the position.

• Board approved the OSBA Legal fund participation fee of $250.

• The next regular school board meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 16.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel