JENNINGS, Mo. – Beginning next week, Jennings students will transition to virtual learning and likely remaining online through at least the end of December, according to district officials.
Jennings Superintendent Dr. Art McCoy said the change comes after an increase in COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis region and a spike in admissions at area hospitals.
“Because the numbers are high we are likely to take the entire month of December and make it virtual, it’s the smart thing to do”.
The process of learning to use new technology can be difficult, however, Dr. McCoy says his teachers and students are equipped for online learning.
“Each student has a Chromebook; we are a 1-1 Chromebook district. Every family in need will also be provided with a hotspot and technical support”, explained Dr. McCoy.
In addition to students being prepped in core subjects such as mathematics, literature, or science. Dr. McCoy stresses online learning is no longer just about teaching tangible and measurable skills. Educators in the Jennings School District are using a Holistic method of teaching in order to empower children to use their academic learning as a foothold for their emotional and social development.
“Our teachers are trained to look at the basic needs of students. They are looking to see if students are dressing appropriately, brushing their teeth, and washing their faces. Does the child look happy or sad, does the house environment seem conducive to safety and learning”, said Dr. McCoy.
“Those are the things that we are teaching our students; the social and learning component, that’s the most important. Before COVID we were teaching students how to count, during COVID we are teaching our students what counts”.
Out of 475 facility members, the school district has reported 15 total positive cases amongst staff, and zero cases among students with the majority being contracted outside of the school environment. Dr. McCoy believes his schools are a safe place but the district is concerned about the substantial community transmission of COVID-19.
“It hasn’t been since March/ April since my staff has worked from home. This is well needed for them to regroup, spend some time with family but also remaining safe during this high peak” said Dr. Art McCoy.
Jennings was the first school district to reopen with in-person learning in July for summer school. The district says it will provide updates on its website, as well as its social media accounts.
Several school districts have announced recent changes to instructional plans, including, the Rockwood School District, Fox C-6, and Wentzville.