Substitute shortages-1 (copy)

Clarksville Elementary teacher Andrew Luther helps fourth grader Ayanna Brown with an assignment while substituting for the class in October.

CLARKSVILLE — Clarksville Community Schools is moving to a hybrid learning model through the end of the semester due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the area.

The district announced Friday that it will be switching to a combination of virtual and in-person instruction starting Wednesday, Nov. 18, through Friday, Dec. 18. The change is meant to minimize potential COVID-19 exposure by only bringing half the students on campus at one time.

For about two weeks, students at Clarksville Community Schools have been eLearning due to staffing shortages related to COVID-19.

Different groups of students will attend in-person on alternating days, or Black Days and Gold Days. Students with last names beginning with A through K will learn in-person on Black Days, Mondays and Thursdays, and students with last names beginning with L through Z will attend on Gold Days, Tuesdays and Fridays.

All students will learn remotely on Wednesdays and the other days they are not on campus. Students in the same household who have different last names can attend on the same color day as long as they alert the central office and consistently attend on the same days.

Preschool students will attend in-person learning every day except for Wednesdays.

In a letter sent Friday to parents and guardians, Clarksville Community Schools Superintendent Tina Bennett stressed that students need to stay home if they are not feeling well, have a pending COVID-19 test or if someone in their household has a pending COVID-19 test.

“Allowing your student to go to school when they’re sick, being untruthful (or non-communicative) about the health of your student and being inconsiderate about the safety of your student’s classmates and teammates will all lead to a rise in cases locally and therefore the extension of the hybrid instructional model,” Bennett said.

“It will take all of us working together, even when it’s hard, to get through this and we appreciate your cooperation and focus on our students and staff health and safety at all times,” she said.

Scott Gardner, director of safety at Clarksville Community Schools, said the state’s categorization of Clark County as orange, or medium to high transmission, on its color-coded system tracking COVID-19 spread was one of the considerations in the switch to hybrid learning.

“We wanted to come back with just a few more precautions in place,” Gardner said. “The hybrid model allows us to still deliver our education but reduce the number of students we have at school at specific times for better social distancing.”

Gardner said the district is preparing plans in case Clark County were to switch to the red level, which is the highest level on the state’s color-coded map. The situation is fluid, and the district is consulting with the health department, he said. We continually ask families to do their best outside of school because what happens out in the community shows up at school two, three days later,” Gardner said.

Bennett said the district will continue to update parents as further decisions are made.

“We are working hard to give our students the opportunity for continued educational success while adding another measure to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Bennett said. “We will continue to monitor this ever evolving situation and work closely with the Clark County Health Department to make the best decisions possible for the safety of our students, staff, and community.”

The district will continue to provide meals for students for the days they are not at school. Meals will be available for pick up on Mondays, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23, and Wednesday, Dec. 2, from noon to 3 p.m. at each building. Details for meal pick-ups for the weeks of Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 will be released at a later date.

All student athletes will receive information about practices and games from the athletic department.

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