ORRHS, Junior High parents favor return to in-person learning

Dec 9, 2020

The data is in, and parents across the Old Rochester Regional School district favor an in-person return for their children. Though, some are wary of the possible caveats involved in an in-person return.  

Poll data released by the district at a Dec. 9 ORR School Committee Meeting show that 73.1% of junior high parents and 73.2% of high school parents favor increased in-person learning using large, open spaces like gyms. 

But when it came to whether parents favored in-person learning even if their childrens’ teachers would change, only 40.8% of junior high parents said yes, while 54.5% of high school parents were comfortable with that condition.

1,241 parents, or just under 50% of the district, weighed in on the schools’ reopening. 

The district is currently teaching students in a hybrid model, meaning that their learning experience is a mix of in-school and at-home teaching. Students are split up into cohorts by last name. Each cohort has two days a week in the building, two days at home, and everyone learns remotely on Mondays.

Parents in both schools indicated that they would largely be able to provide transportation for their children on days   when students learn remotely, should those school days shift to in-person. 82.9% of high school parents and 63.9% of junior high parents indicated that they would be able to provide transportation. 

“It won’t be the final time we ask for feedback,” Superintendent Michael Nelson said, adding that the process is ongoing.

Moving forward, committee member Margaret McSweeney called for the inclusion of learning equity-related questions in the survey, as well as open-ended questions asking parents to describe what the school district can do to best serve its families. 

Committee member Jim Muse applauded the district for providing a voice to families.

He said the survey was “above and beyond” what’s necessary during normal times, let alone when the district isn’t amid the workload of teaching during a pandemic.