The Yukon Public Schools Board voted Monday for students to return to in-person learning with virtual and distance learning options in January.
Three options were presented to board members. One option was to stay with distance learning only, to return to school on Jan. 4 or Jan. 11 with the option of virtual school, or return to school with the options of a Yukon at-home learning plan and a virtual school.
Virtual school will start Jan. 4 after Christmas break.
Dr. Jason Simeroth said that surveys send to parents over the weekend show that 85% want their students to return to school.
The board voted to return Jan. 11 with in-person learning and a “Yukon at home” program for students to stay with virtual learning until spring break..
Board President Suzanne Cannon said, “I think the students want to go back to school.”
The board voted unanimously not to follow the State Department of Education recommendation to close down schools if the number of COVID-19 cases are in the red category as determine by the State Department of Health. The district will no longer follow the department’s color-coded map regarding cases of COVID-19.
“If we return to school it is going to be up to the parents and to the community to keep them in school,” Simeroth said. “You’ve got to stay masked. You’ve got to stay distant.”
Simeroth said the district has had a shortage of substitutes and the public should work to stop the spread.
“You’re going to have to help us. We have to have some help to keep the doors open,” Simeroth said.
Survey results showed concerns with students’ educational progress, their mental health, financial problems at home for parents and childcare expenses.
Board member Michele Hawthorne asked that parents understand that the board members are doing the best they can in a pandemic.
“Work with us, not against us,” Hawthorne said.
The voted to open schools and offer the YPS at home program and the continuous virtual plan.
The district delayed the start of in-person learning in August and students went back in September. Classes went all remote in November.
A news release from the district states the following: