Marvine Elementary School Bethlehem Area School District

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Bethlehem Area School District administration plans to make a recommendation next month about whether to transition elementary school students to in-person instruction five days a week.

During Monday night's Board of School Directors meeting, Superintendent Joseph Roy discussed a video message that he issued to parents earlier in the day. In that message, Roy requested that parents complete an online survey to provide feedback about the possibility of moving students in kindergarten through fifth grade from hybrid learning to daily on-site classes.

Since the start of the school year, BASD's hybrid schedule has allowed for two days of in-person instruction per week.

"We will monitor case data for the district, city and county as we move toward a recommendation to the board in March," Roy said.

Board President Michael Faccinetto said the board will consider the survey results, the district's plan to return to school full time, and recommendations from health and medical experts at a March 8 committee meeting.

He noted that if "the overwhelming majority of parents want to stay hybrid," then the district will continue as it has been. Conversely, if most parents want their students in school five days a week and the medical data allow for it, the district will proceed with plans to accomplish that for April 11, the start of the fourth marking period.

In other news, directors approved on the bill's second reading revisions to the district's policy regarding charter schools and, in particular, renewal applications for existing schools.

The district says the renewal process should help it ascertain a charter school's student achievement, how well the school is being operated, the school's safety and security, the overall school design and its five-year future plans.

Directors also approved changes on third reading to the district's bullying and cyberbullying policy.

Finally, directors formally discussed an expected $10.7 million shortfall with the 2021-22 budget, as noted at last month's meeting. In January, the board passed a resolution to keep any tax increase under the 3.7% limit set by Pennsylvania's Act 1 index.