Back to class: Cohorts 1,2 merge

Guardians of Marietta City Schools students must declare by Friday whether they will move to in-person classes 4-days-a-week, or go fully virtual beginning in November.

One week to decide, one month to prepare.

“We know that our kids are struggling when they’re not with us so we have to do as much as we can to get them with us,” explained Superintendent Will Hampton following the Monday announcement.

Hampton announced the two options Monday, following approval from the Marietta-Belpre Health Department for Phase Two of schooling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Within 10 hours of feedback from parents on social media, the district also began taking children’s declaration information from guardians and parents over the phone.

Marietta City Schools Superintendent Will Hampton, left, and Marietta-Belpre Commissioner Anne Goon discuss reopening cohorts at Putnam School on Sept. 24 in Devola. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

“I’ve been taking calls all day,” said Hampton. “You have this week to decide, I want people to take some time and think about the decisions they’re going to make. And if they have questions I want them to call me, we just know we’re most effective when we’re in front of our kids.”

But he still asks those charged with the care of Marietta students to think through the decision.

The two options on the floor between now and Friday?

Option A

– Combine Cohorts 1 and 2 into in-person classes beginning Nov. 2 for weekly instruction Monday-Thursday.

– Students in this section will be virtual every Friday.

Option B

– Students remaining on Cohort 3, will see no changes.

– Students moving from Cohorts 1 or 2 to Cohort 3 will be virtual five days a week.

Nothing changes until Nov. 2, unless Washington County elevates to a higher alert on the state coronavirus alert system and schools are locked down further.

“We have a month to prepare and we want to be able to make these transitions,” Hampton said. “We may have more kids in house attending, but there are still going to be kids that are virtual (because) it works for some kids. The thing that is really difficult is that it’s an avoidance tool for kids who struggle, too.”

He said the district is considering limiting Cohort 3 (fully-virtual) learning to students that are demonstrating they are capable of completing assignments and engaging in school through the screen.

But for those returning to the buildings?

“None of our work to keep things safe and clean changes, we will still have all of the hand sanitization stations. Everyone will be required to wear a mask, I expect that will be in place for the entire year,” said Hampton. “We are absolutely in an imperfect situation. We have limitations that we have to work within that we’re not used to, we’re not comfortable with and we have to find a way to reach our routines within them and it’s a challenge.”

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