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High school students to return to Parkway this fall

A special Parkway Board of Education meeting was called on Oct. 7 to reevaluate the return of high school students to the classroom.

With health metrics supporting its decision, Parkway is planning to bring high school students back during the second quarter, which begins Oct. 27. The board’s vote on the matter was unanimous.

Previously, Parkway had announced that its high school students would not return to campus until mid-January at the start of the year’s third quarter. However, on Monday, Oct. 5, County Executive Sam Page modified county guidelines regarding the ability of students of all ages to return to in-person learning, which prompted Parkway’s actions.

High school students will remain at home for distance learning until a firm plan is in place to make the transition to the classroom at an undetermined date during the second quarter, which ends on Jan. 14, 2021.

To facilitate the return to classrooms, parents of high school students were asked to confirm their choice for in-person or virtual learning for the remainder of the school year. Once the student population numbers are firm, Parkway will begin assigning teachers to meet the needs of both in-person and virtual learning. Student schedules will be built accordingly.

While student course selections will remain the same for second quarter, the teacher and daily schedule may change to meet the needs of all students. Parkway plans to change student schedules as minimally as possible.

Parents and student comments at the Oct. 7 board meeting were overwhelmingly in support of a return to classroom learning. However, some high school teachers speaking at the meeting expressed concerns about the planning and preparation it would take to return to the classroom mid-quarter. Several board members spoke in support of the return to classrooms from the student standpoint but understood the teachers’ concerns. Parkway explained that part of the slow transition is to make sure educators have the time to make the adjustments.

In light of the impending return of high school students, students from West Middle who were scheduled to attend classes at West High in order to help with social distancing will now return to their home school for in-person learning. Thus, parents at West Middle have been surveyed again to see if their decision remains the same regarding in-person versus virtual learning for their students in light of the venue change.

A detailed calendar and timeline for the high school transition will be discussed at a special board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

West Newsmagazine reached out to Parkway for an interview; however, the district is not granting interviews at this time.

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