‘We Need To Be In School’: Central Bucks Students, Parents Call For Hybrid Learning Model With School Year Looming

BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — When school starts, some districts are all remote while others are a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning. There’s no one-size-fits-all options, but some just want to have options.

With just days until the 2020-21 school year begins, some students are making it known they want to learn in person.

“Today, we held a rally at the Central Bucks offices,” Dakota Giacomelli said.

Dakota is a rising sophomore at East High School in the Central Bucks School District, one of about a dozen students and parents who called for a hybrid model of teaching on Friday afternoon.

The rally came less than a week after a similar one after it was announced, like most districts in the region, Central Bucks will only offer virtual classes through at least the beginning of the school year.

“They decided to make it all online until November,” Dakota said.

Dakota says this decision puts at-risk students at a disadvantage.

“I just feel bad for people who have disabilities or are in abusive households because they’re not going to learn the same way as they do face to face,” Dakota said, “and so people will get different education because they’re not in classrooms.”

Dakota says it also puts a burden on families who cannot afford to stay home and watch their children during the workweek.

“They have to go into work and make money for their kids,” Dakota said, “and because of that, they can’t be with them all the time and these kids will be home alone and trying to learn on their own.”

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, which represents more than 187,000 teachers, says teacher and student safety is paramount, stating all school districts should mandate face coverings and social distancing in classes and use science-based metrics to determine when it’s safe to hold in-person instruction.

PSEA supports virtual learning in situations where such safety measures aren’t possible.

“I hope after November, we can go into a hybrid system or even a five-day system but it is best, we need to be in school,” Dakota said.