UPDATE: Columbia school board votes to delay start, approves hybrid option

Posted on 10 August 2020 at 10:36pm

COLUMBIA — Columbia's Board of Education voted Monday night to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
This comes after district administrators recommended a start date after Labor Day. With the board's approval that means the school year will now begin on Sept. 8. 
The school board also voted to approve an in-person hybrid model as an option for instruction. 
This will not be the only option for learning, but added as another option to all in-person or all-online. The district could change the instruction model depending on current COVID-19 numbers.
CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman said when the district asked the health department about whether it could do in-person learning, health department leaders said the hybrid model is the only one that gets students back to school in a way the complies with social distancing recommendations.
The hybrid model would mean students are in-person at schools for two days a week either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. Students would be split up by last name. 
The district is modeling the recommendation off of Minnesota state guidelines that determine what learning looks like based on the number of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people.
Stiepleman also said Boone County commissioners plan to use CARES Act funding to purchase more than 1,300 hotspots for students. 

"The commission is stepping up to support kids all over the county," he said.

A spokesperson for the district said Monday that CPS won't know what type of learning model they'll use until closer to Sept. 8. 
The district has a virtual Q&A planned for Aug. 20.