Fairfield remaining in hybrid for now

Older students sticking with online, in-person classes

FAIRFIELD – Fairfield middle and high school students were supposed to have returned to fully in-person classes this week, but a spike in COVID-19 cases last week forced the district to remain in its hybrid model of half in-person instruction and half online.

Fairfield School Superintendent Laurie Noll said the middle- and high-schoolers will continue in hybrid mode until next Friday, Nov. 6, unless there is another spike in COVID cases that would cause the district to move to fully online instruction.

“The data is being evaluated daily,” Noll said.

Elementary students in the district started the year in the hybrid model but moved to fully in-person classes on Oct. 5. Though the elementary schools were put on “high alert” Monday, they have remained in the fully in-person model.

The district uses a couple of metrics to determine when to switch from one learning mode to another – such as fully in-person, half in-person, or fully online – based on the spread of the virus. One is the spread of the virus in Jefferson County and the other is the spread of the virus in the Fairfield district population, which counts students, faculty and staff.

On Sunday, more than 0.5 percent of Jefferson County’s population (estimated at 18,295) reported an active case of coronavirus, jumping from 56 cases on Oct. 22 to 98 cases three days later. Breaking that 0.5 percent threshold prompted the district to keep its middle and high school students in hybrid instruction.

The number of positive cases in the school district rose from between one and five to six on Oct. 23, where it has remained. The number of students and staffers who are absent from school because they are in isolation or quarantine rose from 28 to 53 between Oct. 22 and Wednesday. Oct. 28.

The steep climb in coronavirus cases in Jefferson County late last week has leveled off. After the number of positive cases nearly doubled last week, since Monday it’s risen by about one per day and now stands at 102.

Noll said winter sports and other extracurricular activities will go on as planned. Spectators will be limited at games, and masks will be required. Students will be screened for the virus before each practice.