LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Many parents of school-aged children want to know what a hybrid learning model can, or should, look like -- especially with how soon Clark County School District will be starting their own hybrid model.
Several charter schools in the Las Vegas Valley have already been doing the hybrid model for months now, including Pinecrest Academy of Sloan Canyon in Henderson, which started in October.
"It was quiet around here for so long, and we just missed the sound of kids, missed seeing their faces when they came through," said Lisa Satory, the school's principal.
When children arrive, temperatures are taken for each student.
"I roll down my window and they check my temperature," said Max Mannino, a fourth grade student at the academy.
Their hybrid model means in-person learning is divided into half days for younger students, like Max. He belongs to the afternoon cohort.
"It starts at 1, and I normally get home at about 4:00, but it ends at 3:30," said Max.
All students report to their classrooms as soon as they arrive. Once there, the principal says they are confined to their desk areas, without recess, until day's end.
"If we do receive a report of a positive case, then we know very well who all they were around, and who they had contact with, so that we can notify those families," said Satory.
The biggest disruption, according to Satory, is the occasional quarantine.
"We've had some positive cases, we've had some classes that've quarantined. And when they do, they really don’t miss any instruction, because we send out a notification that they are returning to virtual for that period of time. And class resumes as normal, and then, as soon as that quarantine period is over, they return back to the classroom with a hybrid model," said Satory.
Pinecrest students who choose to stay virtual receive live instruction at the same time as students in the classroom. The teachers use video chat and document-cam technologies.
"And they typically project the class, the virtual students, up in their classroom on their projector, so that way they can really feel part of the class," said Satory.
Just to make sure their remote students are feeling okay, Satory said they routinely check in.
"We have our teachers reach out, we have social workers and counselors that are connecting with families that are remaining virtual, to make sure that they feel that connection," said Satory.
And as for masks? Satory said they've had success with compliance, even with the younger kids.
"They do a fantastic job. I mean they really, ya know, we have those conversations with them, about why wearing the masks are important," said Satory.
The students are spaced out, and Satory said they are given stretch breaks within their desk area.
"They have moments where they can stand up and do some brain breaks at their desk, but still stay in their space, and so the teachers have been really creative about trying to give them some normalcy," said Satory.
She said the classrooms are sanitized with an air purifier and aerosol spray between rotations.
Max said he feels safe in Pinecrest, though he only has five people in his class.
Still, he said he's glad his remote learning days are behind him.
"Still feels way better, because normally at the end of the day, I still get to talk to my friends, and in online, I didn't get to talk to them," said Max.
For pick-up and drop-off, parents are restricted to their cars and are allowed into the school's entrance area in a monitored car loop, one group at a time, to make sure kids stay socially distanced.
Ninth and 10th graders were invited back into the building this week as well, and more grades will be introduced to hybrid in weeks to come, according to Satory.
The charter's participating secondary students will come in person on a two day per week basis, where they rotate cohorts.
While the younger students don't get any recess, according to Satory, the older students do get small breaks as they transition between classes.
Satory said the hybrid model has been an adjustment for teachers.
She added that many of her teachers have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and she hopes to open a vaccination site on her campus sometime in the near future.