Smyrna to go remote Monday after state guidance

SMYRNA — Following the governor’s announcement that advised schools to close mid-December, Smyrna School District plans to suspend in-person classes next Monday.

“These days since March 13 have been so, so tough for all of us. You have all been with us when we moved to virtual instruction last year on a moment’s notice. You have been with us through the summer as we all worked to plan for a new school year. You have been with us as we rolled into hybrid, one grade configuration at a time,” Superintendent Patrik Williams wrote in a letter to families. “And you have been with us right up through today. For that, I am personally and incredibly grateful. We are Smyrna strong.”

Friday will be Smyrna’s final day under hybrid instruction until Jan. 11. 

“On Monday, Jan. 11th, our schools are determined to pivot back to our hybrid instructional model in all grades from pre-K to 12,” Mr. Williams said. “As Gov. Carney has noted, our schools are safe places to learn, but we recognize that factors outside of our school are making it difficult for everyone to enjoy in-person instruction right now.”

Beginning Dec. 14, all the district’s teachers and instructional staff will be following the governor’s “stay-at-home” advisory and conducting virtual instruction from their own homes, Mr. Williams said.

The decision comes on the heels of a tumultuous week for education amid coronavirus, specifically in Kent County, but it was capped off Thursday when Gov. John Carney announced that he advised schools to move to remote instruction Dec. 14 through Jan. 11. That came with a caveat, however: if schools feel like they could operate hybrid during this period, they have the green light to do so.

This is a reversal for the governor, who earlier this week said schools should continue offering hybrid instruction despite Kent County’s data moving into the “red” phase (meaning data indicated there was significant community spread). The data prompted several districts to press pause on hybrid. 

Earlier this week, Capital opted to go remote until at least Monday, Jan. 4. Caesar Rodney voted to move to remote until next Wednesday, and the board will determine a path forward. Milford elected to resume its hybrid learning after a brief pause (though Milford High remained closed Thursday after a positive case). On Thursday, Milford officials said this weekend the district would “evaluate the best course of action operationally for Milford High School for next week and the period of time from Dec. 14 through Jan. 11, which the state has recommended for schools to operate in a full remote learning model.”

This is a topic of discussion for Appoquinimink and Lake Forest. Appoquinimink is meeting tonight. Lake Forest is scheduled to meet Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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