Kirkwood approves plan for middle schools to return to the classroom

COVID and the Classroom

KIRKWOOD, Mo. – Kirkwood School District’s Board of Education approved a plan Monday night to bring middle school students back to the classroom at the beginning of November.

The new schedule for middle schools in the Kirkwood School District includes Monday-Thursday in-person learning for those who opted in; Fridays are virtual days.

However, the full school day will not be spent inside the classroom. Students will attend school in-person until lunchtime, grab their lunch, take it home, and then stay at home for the remainder of the school day, where they will take part in virtual learning.

“They’ll travel home, have the opportunity to eat lunch, and then at that point, they will be expected to log back on with the same expectation if they were in person, we’ll take attendance and make sure there’s accountability,” Kirkwood School District Superintendent David Ulrich said.

The district will give all middle school students two pause days, Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, before making the switch. The district also implemented pause days for elementary school students during their transition phase.

“As we are pivoting to in person learning we know that we may have to pivot back to virtual learning so we want to make sure that we are still cultivating that school for planning and teachers and for student engagement,” Ulrich said.

Sixth-grade students will head back to the classroom beginning Nov. 4, before seventh and eighth-grade students. Starting Nov. 9, all middle school grades can be back in the classroom.

Masks must be worn in the school buildings and Ulrich said hand sanitizing stations will be available.

Here’s the breakdown of what students at each middle school chose:

Nipher Middle School
550 In-Person (81%)
129 Virtual (19%)
27 students have not reported

North Kirkwood Middle School
518 In-Person (83%)
112 Virtual (17%)
11 students have not reported

One Kirkwood School District parent who has a student in elementary, middle and high school in the district said she was not sure about the district’s plan in the first place, but was impressed with how the district handled it.

“I was very skeptical and I honestly went into all the board of education meetings thinking there is no way I’m sending them back in person and I just really felt that the data that they presented, the amount of effort and scientific backing that they looked at and presented to us, it was very impressive. I feel like they’ve made a safe environment,” Sarah Hirsch said.

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