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Reactions to DCSD School Board’s decision to stay remote


On Jan. 19, 2021, the DCSD School Board of Education decided to not switch back to hybrid on Jan. 25 and to keep students remote learning, which is how DCSD high school and middle school students have been learning since after Thanksgiving break. The majority of the board members felt students weren’t ready to head back quite yet.

David Ray, board president and director of district F, spoke as only one board director and said, “It wasn’t just saying we wanted the kids to be remote. I think it was really more along the lines of ‘Are we ready to make a shift to hybrid?’” 

When making this decision, Ray focused on four critical things which were consistency, sustainability, effectiveness, and safety. The one he struggled to get a grip on was the effectiveness of the hybrid model. Ray said, “We heard so many mixed views. We were hearing many people say it’s not as effective of a learning model because of the inconsistency.” 

Many felt hybrid learning in the fall was inconsistent because students weren’t able to always have access to teachers on asynchronous days which may have prevented some from meeting their educational needs. The learning was also frequently disrupted due to quarantines, especially at the end of last semester. 

“It wasn’t just saying we wanted the kids to be remote. I think it was really more along the lines of ‘Are we ready to make a shift to hybrid?’”

David Ray, board president and director of district F

There are some students who didn’t mind this decision to stay remote. In fact, Ray said, “We were hearing from a lot of students as well that night that said remote is better for me because at least it’s predictable.” The amount of unknowns students experience can sometimes cause them to become more worried and stressed, guiding their focus away from their school work. 

Katie Winn, junior, had similar thoughts. She said, “Due to the overall expectation that students will be accustomed to abide by if/when we go back, it would create a never ending cycle of stress and overwhelming emotions that could cause students to do worse in classes. Not only that, but online is consistent learning that we didn’t receive last semester during hybrid.”

There were others in the district who were hopeful about returning to hybrid and getting back some normality but got upset when they heard the news about staying remote. Tammy Black, parent of HR sophomore, said, “I was extremely disappointed. I believe that the kids should be in school not only for the social piece, but for the structure that it brings.” 

Some students were also upset about this decision to stay remote. They felt they needed the in-person connections with teachers and classmates as well as be back in a place that didn’t have so many distractions. Lexi Branch, junior, said, “In person instruction is something that can not always be matched or made up for online and a lot of times it is just not the same as experiencing it around you, allowing you to focus more and learn more with less distractions.”

According to a Fox 31 Denver news article, some parents were so disappointed by the decision that they announced plans to recall four of the seven board members. They launched the petition because they felt the board did not make the right call in keeping middle and high schoolers in remote learning. Though, some parents thought the idea of a recall petition was not the answer.

The HR Chronicle reached out to Nate Ormond, one of the organizers of the recall petition, according to Fox News 31. Ormond did not respond to requests for comment.

When Ray was asked if he was surprised at the potential recall petition, he said, “I was surprised and disappointed because that’s not where our focus is going to be, so for me, my focus is how do I get kids back in school in a safe and effective way.”

Several students within DCSD created this survey and sent it out to all the middle and high schoolers in the district. When the survey was presented during the board meeting, there were 4,000 responses. Infographic by Kara Lyons. Source: “DougCo School Board votes to move older students to hybrid model Monday”

On the Feb. 2 board meeting, the board members decided to launch a “Hybrid 2.0” plan for middle and high schools starting on Feb. 8, which is different from the hybrid model that was in place at the beginning of the school year. 

This model will have synchronous classes where there will be live streams of each class for the students at home. For students who don’t want to go back to the hybrid model, they have the choice to follow the hybrid model but learn remotely on their in-person learning days.

Kara Lyons, Editor in Chief

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Reactions to DCSD School Board’s decision to stay remote