Brandywine Heights School District is planning to bring students back into classrooms in January.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the school district began the school year with a hybrid instruction model. Students attended classes in person two times a week and learned virtually on other days.

Increasing COVID-19 cases in the county and school district led Brandywine Heights to change course this month, moving to fully remote education on Nov. 2.

Since that time, the district has convened a committee of parents, students, teachers, administrators and school board members to re-evaluate the district's COVID-19 health and safety plan.

At a school board meeting Nov. 17, the committee's recommendations were unveiled. They included having students return to a hybrid model of instruction on Jan. 11, a move the board approved. The board will meet again Jan. 4 to make sure that plan is still viable.

The new hybrid model will see kindergarten students in class for half-days five days a week, with half of the students attending school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.

For grades six through 12, students will be broken into two groups. One group will attend full-day, in-person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the other attends in-person on Thursdays and Fridays.

Students will learn virtually when they aren't in in-person classes.

The district is still evaluating its plan for first- through fifth-graders, choosing between the half-day model that will be used for kindergarten or the secondary model.

Superintendent Andrew Potteiger said the district is waiting until Jan. 11 to bring students back into classrooms to leave a safe distance from the holiday season, which medical experts have said could create a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Students will return from winter break virtually on Jan. 4, learning remotely for their first week back.

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