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Royal schools to drop hybrid option after spring break

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | March 31, 2021 1:00 AM

ROYAL CITY — Royal School District officials are planning to drop the hybrid schedule — part-time on campus and part-time online — April 12, in favor of full-time, in-person instruction, when classes resume after spring vacation.

School board members approved a resolution authorizing the change at a special meeting Friday.

Superintendent Roger Trail said during the special meeting families will continue to have the option of all-online instruction.

“Students will be 100% here or 100% online,” Trail said. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long, long time.”

During a presentation at the March 22 school board meeting, Trail said mitigation protocols, such as wearing masks, will continue. Students and staff have followed the protocols and Trail said the district hasn’t experienced the COVID-19 disease spreading within the schools.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed the social distancing requirement from six feet to three feet, he said, and district staff will follow that guidance.

All district staffers who want the coronavirus vaccine will have received two shots by April 12, Trail said.

The prevalence of the disease has been relatively low in the Royal City area, and that’s one reason district officials can consider a return to school, Trail said. He cited a report from Grant County Health District that as of March 22, the coronavirus case rate in Royal City during the previous two weeks was about 74 per 100,000 residents.

One student in the district tested positive for coronavirus during the previous two weeks, he said.

The coronavirus case rate at the high school, Trail said, is proportionately lower than in the rest of the district.

Schools were closed for in-person instruction in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Individual districts decided how they would reopen for the 2020-21 school year.

Royal School District officials opted for a hybrid model at the beginning of school, with each child on campus two days per week. That schedule was modified over the course of the school year.

Royal Elementary School and Royal Intermediate School students already have returned to complete on-campus instruction. Royal Middle School and Royal High School have stayed in the hybrid model, but it will be eliminated after spring vacation.

“While the challenge is greater at the middle school due to the construction, we should still be able to make it work,” Trail said.

The middle school and high school are about six months into remodeling projects. The middle school project includes two additional classrooms and remodeling of the office.

Two classrooms will be added at the high school, and the gym is getting a remodeling, new locker rooms and a new entrance.