Dallas ISD considers hybrid learning model for high schools, one elementary school

All Dallas ISD high schools and at least one elementary school are likely to move to a hybrid form of class when in-person instruction begins next month.

District leaders say they’ve heard from parents. They understand the demand and capacity at schools, and they believe this proposal will help get as many students on campus as possible while maintaining social distancing. 

Lillian Gravley’s twin boys, Nick and Roman, are in the fifth grade at Lakewood Elementary. There, a whopping 82% of parents responding to a district survey say they intend for their kids to return for in-person learning Oct. 5.

The high demand is making it the only DISD elementary school likely going to a hybrid model.

“I think we are all just trying our best and make sure we do it safe and do it right,” Gravley said.

District leaders say high schools are a different ball game altogether. So under the plan, all DISD high schools will follow the hybrid model aimed at keeping students and faculty safe.

“There are many transitions between classes, so students have more movement,” said Dallas ISD Chief of Schools Jolee Healy. “And then they have also found based on information from other districts that our students that are older are not as consistent with their PPE and using their masks and their social distancing.”

What does the hybrid model look like in practice?

“The hybrid model we are using at most schools would have half of the students on Monday and Tuesday, a flex day on Wednesday and then the other half of the students on Thursday and Friday,” Healy explained.

District leaders say the plan is to use the hybrid model for nine weeks and then reevaluate.

Lakewood students would have the option of attending a less crowded nearby elementary campus for all in-person learning.

For parents like Gravley, who’s a physician and understands the need for social distancing. It’s an exercise in patience. 

“Yeah, I’m frustrated,” she said. “My kids want to go back to school and see their friends. We all want things to be normal. But if we make poor decisions or try to rush things, we’ll backtrack ourselves.”

One important caveat for the return to in-person learning is students transitioning to a campus for the first time for in-person learning — pre-k, kindergarten, sixth graders and ninth graders — will start Monday, Sept. 28.

The board votes Thursday, and the high school schedule is expected to go out Friday.