GILBERT, AZ — Gilbert Public Schools are expected to shift to a district-wide hybrid model starting next week, Superintendent Shane McCord told ABC15 on Tuesday.
McCord pointed to a November4 policy passed by the GPS Governing Board, mandating a shift to the “hybrid A-L M-Z model of instruction” if the district moves into the substantial spread or “red” category in two county metrics for two consecutive weeks.
Last week, according to the Maricopa County Dashboard, there were 328 cases per 100 thousand people, and a percent positivity of 11.35, putting both metrics in the red. McCord said the district anticipates the metrics will remain in the red on Thursday, when the county updates its numbers, triggering the return to hybrid learning.
The hybrid model would last 14 days, and could begin as early as December 7.
It could also be the first step toward a return to virtual or fully remote learning. The governing board “will meet to decide whether students and staff return to virtual learning for two weeks should COVID-19 cases continue to rise within the school community,” according to a resolution it approved November 4.
Gilbert is one of several east Valley school districts which have wrestled with the decision to remain open, even as numerous other districts have returned to remote learning. Rising COVID numbers have forced some districts to re-think in-person instruction, even as districts struggle to find qualified people to staff classrooms. On Monday, the Scottsdale Unified School District announced a return to virtual learning for three high schools, citing staff shortages and “general non-compliance with public health mitigation strategies.”
Gilbert is the 7th largest school district in Arizona, with 39 schools and more than 34 thousand students.