The 2020-2021 school year at Delaware City Schools came to a close for students Thursday, and district officials are already planning what comes next.
Students in the school district have been on a hybrid learning model since the start of the school year on Aug. 30. Students who elected to attend in-person school were divided into two cohorts and attended in-person school on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. The two groups alternated who attended in-person classes on Wednesday.
The school year ended for the 2,102 students in Cohort A on Tuesday and concluded for the 2,032 students in Cohort B on Thursday.
The 1,310 students in the Delaware City Schools Online Academy also had their last day Thursday.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley said Thursday that students stepped up this year and succeeded in spite of all the changes.
“The students did an incredible job this year,” she said. “Not only did they follow health and safety protocols, but they also did an amazing job with hybrid learning.”
Kegley said she’s thankful for everyone who made the school year a success.
“We are grateful to our students, staff, and families for their flexibility and continued support throughout the year,” Kegley said. “Truly, I feel like the students, staff, and families rocked this school year. Our kids felt safe, connected and nurtured. This year is a true testament to the statement, ‘When we work together, anything is possible!’”
Hayes High School Principal Ric Stranges said although the student body was divided this year, he felt the year could also be described as “a year of collaboration.”
“I’ve collaborated to try and make the best decisions for the high school that I could,” Stranges said. “I’ve had a lot of help to get us through this very trying year. Everyone seemed to pitch in. It was a group effort, a team effort to get everybody through it. (Students were) not just surviving, but thriving.”
Stranges said he’s happy the district was able to hold an in-person graduation ceremony over the weekend, adding he didn’t originally see a way for that ceremony to be possible.
“There’s a sense of relief that we did make it through and we learned a lot,” Stranges said. “I was always hopeful. I think we were hopeful as we began to plan for this year, but I didn’t think we could do it. We were hopeful, but it wasn’t realistic. It was day to day, just to get through safely. And then you began to get through safely and began to open your eyes and see some hope.”
Kegley said the district is preparing for a return to in-person learning, five days a week, in the fall.
“We are already planning for next school year,” she said. “At this time, we fully expect that we will have students in school five days a week for full in-person learning, and we are really excited about that. We will continue to review school guidelines as set by the State of Ohio. While we expect things to look much closer to our normal operations, we will begin discussions with our leadership teams immediately to discuss any modifications to our school operations that may be needed.”
Kegley said the district will be looking at a variety of subjects as they prepare for next school year, including hallway movement, lunch periods and guest policies.
Assistant Superintendent Craig Heath said the district’s summer programs are staggered throughout summer break. The high school and middle school programs will begin on June 8, and elementary programs will begin later in the summer.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.