Lower Moreland Makes Major Shift to In-Person Learning


Manav Singh

Early in the year, up to 35% of students attended on hybrid days. Around Thanksgiving break, though, a large number of hybrid students began staying home, leaving the hallways almost empty on some days.

Ray Singh and Manav Singh

At a Special Meeting held on March 2, the Lower Moreland School Board voted 7-2 to switch the district from a hybrid instructional model to a 4.5 day in-person schedule. The change will take effect on March 22, and families have already chosen between virtual and in-person learning for their students.

61% of high school students plan to return to school in-person, and 39% plan to stay virtual.

Data from LMHS as of 3/15/21. (Ray Singh)

Students who chose in-person learning will attend four full days of school per week and a quasi-half day on Wednesdays. Each Wednesday will start as a synchronous half day with four periods, alternating between periods 1-4 and 5-8 each week. Then, students will have about an hour to eat lunch and transport themselves home if they choose. Students will learn remotely for the second half of the day.

The district will no longer offer the hybrid model because the model’s purpose was to maintain six feet of distancing, and the new schedule, due to an increased student population in the building, will likely maintain only three feet of distancing in some places. A study released on March 10 suggested that three feet may be enough distancing for safe reopening, and the CDC updated its guidance on March 19, saying that three feet of distancing between students is enough for safe school reopening.

Dr. David Rubin, an attending physician and director of PolicyLab at C.H.O.P., spoke at the board meeting and emphasized the importance of effective masking. “The number one thing you can do as you prepare to go to full in-school is focus on how they [students] wear the masks. And that means bandanas, gaiters, out,” he said. “Focus on how kids are effectively covering their nose and preventing the pockets on the side.”

Since the start of the year, hybrid students have been permitted to attend school virtually for any reason. Starting March 22, however, in-person students who attend virtually will be marked absent if not in school unless they are quarantining. The district chose to begin the new schedule the week of March 22 to allow it to make adjustments over spring break, which is the following week.

3/19/2021 UPDATE: The version of this article published on March 16 said: “A study released on March 10 suggests that three feet may be enough distancing for safe reopening, but the CDC has not yet updated its guidance, which currently says that six feet of distancing should be maintained where possible.” On March 19, the CDC amended it guidance to say that three feet of distancing between students is enough for safe reopening. The article was updated on March 19 to reflect the change.