PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – Junior high students in Pickerington will be learning five days a week in person next school year after all.

Last week, a hybrid proposal was presented by the district’s administration and highly criticized by community members.

On Monday, the district’s superintendent said it is going with full in-person learning for the 2022-23 school year.

As soon as the decision was announced at a board meeting Monday, there was a big applause from the crowd of dozens of parents.

After last week’s proposal, the district asked for feedback from the community. Superintendent Dr. Chris Briggs said the feedback – more than 260 responses – was heard loud and clear.

In order to make in-person learning work, the district said junior high students will be placed in cohorts for scheduling and transition purposes, additional staff will be needed, which does come with additional costs, and they are looking for more parents for their Parents on Positivity patrol program.

According to the district, the whole reason hybrid was even considered is because of overcrowding issues.

“I still want to stress this issue and the concerns we have does not go away,” Briggs said of the overcrowding. “We need to address it more than just adding additional staff. We need space. We need adequate academic space for our students.”

Parents said their students will be relieved to know that five-day in-person learning will be happening.

“This is going to give these kids a sense of peace,” said parent Courtney Green, whose daughter is in seventh grade. “There’s been a lot of conversation in the schools the last week about, ‘What does this mean for us? Where are we going to school? How is this going to look?’ and so this is really going to set these kids off with a great momentum.”

“They were nervous,” parent Samantha Frost said. “The hybrid was tough for them, and they didn’t want to go back to that, so I think he’ll be over the moon this happened.”

Briggs said some students have succeeded with the all-virtual learning option and that will still be available next year.

District leaders and the parents who attended Monday’s meeting are hoping a ballot issue passes in November, which they said would give the district the money it needs to build new schools and, in turn, help with overcrowding.