With the risk of COVID-19 spread too high, officials at Lincoln Public Schools are implementing a staggered schedule for high school students when they begin the fall semester.
“I implore our students and our families do everything they can to slow down the virus by wearing masks, physically distancing and remaining home if they have symptoms,” Dr. Steve Joel, superintendent said at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
The “3/2” plan will have students whose last name begin with A through K attend Monday and Tuesday along with the first and third Wednesday of the month. The other half of the students will attend the opposite days and participate in remote learning.
Elementary and middle school students along with students enrolled in special programs are not affected.
A decision on athletics and activities hasn’t been determined but students are allowed to attend practices.
“This is out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our staff and students. After hearing many staff, parent and community concerns regarding socially distance 2,000 plus students in our high schools,” Joel said.
The announcement of reducing students in Lincoln Public School’s High Schools didn’t ease many concerns from people who testified in front of the board of education.
“Going ahead with reopening when we are in the burnt orange level in the risk dial demonstrates a distinct lack of bravery, creativity and care,” said one LPS teacher and parent.
That was one of 25 parents, teachers and other stakeholders took to the mic to air concerns over reopening with in-person learning.
LPS Parent Maggie Thompson represents a city-wide group who are asking school officials to move to full remote learning.
“I can tell you that I have not talked to one person in this group of 1,000 who works in these building and that says ‘this is totally fine, this is going to work, this is practical’ not one person,” Thompson said.
Thompson says the plan doesn’t address safety, equity and justice issues.
Regardless of what the coming weeks and months hold, Joel says education will be safe.
“We’re going to provide a high quality education experience for 100-percent of our students whether that’s in our facilities with our teachers our via ZOOM remote with our teachers,” Joel said. “But what we want is to bring all of our students into school and get back to a sense of normalcy.”