WEST FARGO — West Fargo students are nearing the end of their first month in their hybrid school model, and superintendent Beth Slette said despite a few hiccups, both students and staff have been able to adjust.
"They're working very hard and it's going very well," she said. "They're glad to be back in school and we're glad to have them back in school."
Rising case numbers in Cass County have now pushed the county to moderate risk, starting Friday, Sept. 25.
Despite Fargo Public Schools changing to distance learning starting in two weeks, Slette said her district — which overtook Fargo for enrollment this fall — opted to stay put in the hybrid model.
"We're trying to avoid shifting learning models on really short notice, and we really want our students to be in schools as much as possible," she said.
Slette believes one of the main differences between West Fargo and Fargo's plan is flexibility based on student numbers.
Right now, West Fargo is under the green level, meaning 50 to 90 percent of students are allowed on site, and students are in classes two days a week.
Slette said the district is also watching the number of close contacts and community spread in the county.
"We're watching those numbers by building and by district, and that's how we're making those decisions," she said.
Jordan Willgohs, the president of the West Fargo Education Association, said while teachers have their concerns, they're willing to hear out the district.
"Our teachers want what is best for our students and staff, both from an education and safety standpoint," Willgohs said in an emailed statement. "There are pros and cons, whatever we do (as a learning model), and we are counting on the district to make decisions based on the data and recommendations of our health partners."
Although cases continue to go up, Slette is staying confident the spread of the virus will die down sooner rather than later.
"We believe that if (students are) in school two days a week, (and) having those connections with their teachers, that is what's best for them," she said.
According to the most recent data from West Fargo Public Schools, 16 staff members and 24 students have tested positive districtwide during the first few weeks of school.