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Not everyone happy with hybrid model in Montoursville

Montoursville Area School District’s plan for students to start the school year under the hybrid model was discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting with some people expressing concern that students will not be in classrooms five days a week.

Superintendent Christina Bason told residents and concerned parents tuned to the virtual meeting that returning to a normal school week will depend upon numbers of coronavirus cases in Lycoming County.

Bason noted that the hybrid model calling for students to report to classrooms two days a week and learn remotely other days was not the most popular choice because of the complexities it creates for parents and others.

Lycoming County, she said, is not one of the state’s hot spots for positive coronavirus cases, but instead has shown a slight uptick in numbers in recent weeks.

Right now, the number of cases being reported daily calls for the district to follow either a blended learning model or a full remote learning model.

The numbers will be evaluated each week.

A significant outbreak of coronavirus, she noted, could require the district to go completely to remote learning.

“This is going to be quite a school year for us,” she said.

One parent of a student told the board she felt students need to be in classrooms five days a week. She said her own child has problems learning by computer.

“I think what you are saying is of great concern to parents,” Bason said. “We want our students back in classrooms as soon as possible. We will be evaluating this on a week-by-week basis.”

District resident Pamela Nelson said she felt it was in the best interest of the district to follow state guidelines for providing school instruction. Otherwise, the district could face legal problems.

“I am against the hybrid model,” board member Ron Snell said. “Our students do deserve the best education possible and that education comes from being in the classroom.”

In personnel action, the board approved the hiring of Cody Pavlick to teach seventh- and eighth-grade science at a starting pay rate of $46,680 annually. He replaces Chris Reeder who will be teaching at another grade level.

The board also hired Michaela Mathis as a special education teacher and Tiffany Steppe as an English teacher. Mathis replaces Emily Haywood and Steppe replaces Alicia Betz.

Lisa Brown was approved as a part-time custodian at $14.84 per hour. It was noted the job is a new position.

Prior to the meeting, the board met in executive session to consider legal and other issues.

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