William Penn High will start 2020 school year remotely


VALUEZTV PM EDITION




Jeff Neilburg


Delaware's largest high school has decided to start the 2020 school year remotely, making the decision ahead of state officials determining a plan for schools in the state.


Colonial School District's return-to-school workgroups decided that William Penn High School would begin the 2020 school year the same way the 2019-20 school year finished, remotely.


The district made the announcement Friday on its website.


"This decision was made based on the number of William Penn students, the guidance from the Delaware Department of Education, and the complexity of student schedules," the district said.


Plans for fall sports will be left up to the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association, which met this week for more than four hours and came away with no decisions, opting to instead wait for the Department of Education, Public Health and Gov. John Carney to make their decisions regarding the 2020 school year.


Colonial is offering two options for families with students in pre-K through 8th grade: Remote learning or face-to-face instruction.


Parents who opted for remote learning were advised in advance that students are held to that expectation through the end of the first semester in mid-January, the district said.


According to the school district, 39% of parents chose face-to-face instruction for their children and 61% of parents chose remote instruction.


"Both approaches will be provided five days a week and will hold similar expectations for teaching and learning," the district said.


Colonial wasn't the first district to announce an adjustment ahead of the state. 


Brandywine's board voted July 20 to delay the student start date for the upcoming school year until September 16.


"Given that the State will not make a final decision on how education will be delivered until mid-August, the delayed start gives the district more time to plan and finalize details to ensure a safe, smooth opening," Brandywine said.


Schools have naturally been a hot topic around the country as the pandemic creeps toward the fall. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention this week changed its guidance to say schools should and are safe to reopen.


The CDC, a federal agency, seemed to change its tune just days after President Trump tweeted his disagreement with its original return guidances.


Many schools around the country are flouting the new guidance and opting for a delayed or remote start to 2020.


In Delaware, the Department of Education released in mid-July its long-awaited guidance offering requirements and steps schools should takein order to safely return to buildings in the fall. 


The state is expected to announce further plans in early August.

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