York City School District updates hybrid model to include classes via Zoom

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
William Penn Senior High School, or York High, in York City, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Starting next week, York City students will see their teachers four out of five days each week, but not all of those days will be in a classroom. 

York City School District updated its hybrid model to allow more teacher-student interaction, with the new model going into effect Monday.

The current model has students in class two days a week and completing independent remote assignments the remaining three days. The new model will keep two days of in-class time but include two days of remote learning, with students attending class via Zoom so they can work with their teachers. 

Fridays will remain an independent remote-learning day for all students, according to a district announcement Thursday. Students will still have the option to access full virtual learning through the district's online academy. 

Several local school districts have recently reopened school buildings for more in-person instruction days after teachers were vaccinated and as state officials relaxed COVID-19 guidelines.

York Suburban School District reopened its middle school for four days of in-person instruction in late March and reopened its elementary schools to five days of in-person instruction this week. West Shore School District just announced it would also open its high schools and middle schools for four days of in-person instruction starting April 19. 

More:York Suburban to reopen elementary, middle schools, keep high school hybrid

More:West Shore School District to reopen high schools and middle schools for more in-person instruction

While many parents across York County have strongly supported expanding in-person instruction for most school districts, York City parents favored the opposite earlier this year. 

When York City officials announced in January that the district was moving out of its fully online model to reopen under a hybrid schedule, a group of parents protested the decision. A Facebook group for the protesters gathered 118 members, and a change.org petition to keep York City students in virtual learning amassed 232 signatures. 

More:Parents, students protest York City School District's hybrid plan

One of the main reasons parents were upset by the decision was because the hybrid schedule reduced the amount of teacher interaction their students received each week. Under York City's previous fully online model, students saw their teachers four to five days per week over Zoom. The hybrid schedule reduced that to two days of teacher contact in a classroom environment, with no contact during the remaining three days of remote learning. 

York City Superintendent Andrea Berry previously said that the district could not manage offering virtual learning over Zoom while also offering in-class instruction because it was impractical to ask teachers to teach students in class and remotely at the same time. 

"Resource-wise, we cannot manage it," she said.