Helena school survey: Most parents support return to in-person classes, staff supports hybrid model

Kessler Elementary School
Posted at 12:30 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 09:57:10-05

HELENA — New data shows a majority of Helena Public Schools families want leaders to consider returning students to fully in-person classes, while more district employees support staying in the current “hybrid model.”

The school district released the results of two recent surveys: one of parents and family members and one of staff.

58% of family respondents said they wanted the district to look at “phasing-up” and returning all students to schools at the same time. 28% said they wanted to stay in Phase 1 – students on campus two days a week and attending remotely the other three – until COVID-19 cases drop to a specific level.

25% of the respondents said they wanted district leaders to choose a single phase and stay with it for the rest of the school year, while 13% wanted to keep phases variable, depending on local health conditions.

In the employee survey, 52% of respondents said they wanted to remain in Phase 1 until COVID cases decrease, while 27% said they wanted to consider phasing up. 39% said it was important to pick a single consistent phase, and 16% preferred variability.

Helena Public Schools has been in Phase 1 since the start of the school year last summer. 62% of parents and family members said the model has been appropriate for local health conditions, while 35% said it was too restrictive. Among teachers and other staff, 89% said Phase 1 was appropriately restrictive, and only 6% said it was too cautious.

In the parent and family survey, 42% of respondents said the hybrid model had generally met their children’s academic needs, but only 24% felt it had served their social and emotional needs. 48% of staff said Phase 1 served their students well academically, and 37% said it met their social needs.

Majorities of both families and employees said the Phase 1 model had provided sufficient health and safety for everyone.

You can find a link to the full survey results on the school district website.

Superintendent Tyler Ream said the Helena school board is likely to discuss possible phasing decisions at their meeting next week.