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ICYMI: Students in grades 6-9 at Bismarck and Mandan Public Schools returning to full-time, face-to-face learning

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Some students in Bismarck and Mandan Public Schools are returning to face-to-face learning, full time.

KX spoke with the superintendents from both districts to tell us what led them to this decision.

Since the beginning of the school year, kids in middle and high school have been following the hybrid learning model — but all that is about to change.

“The hybrid model works well for some students. There are some students that really struggle in it. It doesn’t work well for all of them,” said Mike Bitz, Superintendent of Mandan Public Schools.

“I will tell you, the hybrid is working wonderfully for some kids in Middle school and high school. But for others, it’s not working at all for them,” said Jason Hornbacher, Superintendent of Bismarck Public Schools.

Some may question if the two school districts are rushing kids back into school.

“I do worry about the number of people that we are potentially going to be exposing now because that will increase dramatically. But the hybrid model has been hard on children and families, and I think we can all agree there are possibly more transmissible moments outside of the school setting,” said Erin Ourada, Administrator at Custer Health.

With cases up across the state and 24 deaths reported Wednesday, why continue to move forward with the decision to return kids back to school?

“The full time in person instruction actually reduces community spread,” said Bitz.

“When you follow what the North Dakota State Department is saying about, you know, schools being a safe place for kids and really helping slow the community spread by having kids in school. You know, that’s a part of it,” said Hornbacher.

Mandan and Bismarck students in grades sixth through ninth are returning to their classes, full time come Oct. 19.

Elementary school students in Mandan have been full time since the beginning of the year, whereas Bismarck elementary students just returned for full time, face-to-face learning on Sept. 29.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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