Rather than returning to a full traditional schedule after the New Year, North Pike students will continue on a hybrid schedule in an attempt to prevent coronavirus outbreaks.

District board members accepted Superintendent Dennis Penton’s recommendation Thursday.

“I’m concerned about the rising (COVID-19 infection) numbers in the community,” Penton said.

Returning to the hybrid schedule “will give us a time period to evaluate the numbers. If there are more positive cases after Christmas, we can have fewer chances for exposure.”

He said the district has received about 2,400 Chromebook internet-accessible devices received from a bulk purchase by the state, which could help students if the district remains on hybrid schedule or decides to retreat further.

“If the numbers go crazy over Christmas, I’d like the option to go full virtual for 10 days,” Penton said. “The experts believe family gatherings are going to be spreader events.”

He said once the authorization forms for the Chromebooks are returned, the Chromebooks will be distributed before Christmas break.

Answering a question from board member Chris Richardson, Penton said families would retain the option to take virtual instruction.

“That’s up to the board,” he said. “As of now, that option is still available.”

The board approved the hybrid schedule for the New Year, along with the option to go online for all students if needed.

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