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Students to return four days a week
Grant Swallows, mask.jpg
Director of Schools Grant Swallows leads by example and wears a facemask.

It’s back to school four days a week for the Warren County School System.

The School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to return to Monday thru Thursday classroom learning for all students when the second nine-week grading period begins Monday, Oct. 12.

Voting in favor of the move were School Board members Tanya Bess, James Bennett, Tommy Culwell, Helen Martin, Sue Anderson and Bill Zechman.

The decision came after input from Director of Schools Grant Swallows, who noted the hybrid learning model had served its purpose, but it is time for Warren County to move forward.

“My recommendation is that after the nine weeks we go to a four-day week of in-person instruction and leave Friday for remote learning,” said Swallows.

He pointed to input from teachers, parents and students in making his recommendation. He praised teachers for their hard work during this unprecedented educational environment, but said student achievement is suffering and parents are being tasked with extra work on their plate.

“Parents are getting frustrated because they’re having to spend long hours on homework after working a full-time job and coming home and cooking dinner,” said Swallows.

Swallows made his recommendation with one caveat.

“We need to understand our numbers are going to go up in this environment,” said Swallows, who would later add that going back four days a week doesn’t mean schools can “let down our hair” and disregard facemasks and social distancing.

Helen Martin said, “I think it’s time to send them back. I don’t want to do a disservice to our children.”

Tommy Culwell said he has received input from a number of students, teachers and parents and the overwhelming sentiment is the current hybrid model is creating a great deal of anxiety. As a parent himself, Culwell said that anxiety has been felt at his household too.

James Bennett said he’s been in contact with a number of students who say they appreciate the School Board’s consideration to return to full-time learning and are in favor of that option.

All School Board members said they have received a considerable amount of input from the community.

Said Tanya Bess, “What sticks out in my mind is the parents, students and faculty realize it’s a tough decision and they said they would support it either way.”

In going back to a four-day classroom schedule, Swallows noted VIP enrollment would reopen this Wednesday morning, Sept. 23, and continue through this Sunday night at 11:59 p.m.