JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – What will school look like this fall? We are getting a clearer picture after a press conference featuring State Board of Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven in Jefferson City today.
Dr. Vandeven says that many parents and students in Missouri want students to go back to school this fall. State and school leaders met last week during a webinar to come up with a plan to bring many students back into the classroom, with extra precautions. Students may face a mix of distance and in-person learning depending on the way the local school district decides to deal with the risk of contracting the virus.
There is a digital divide in the state of Missouri. One in five kids don’t have the resources to learn remotely. This makes long-term remote learning difficult to continue without damaging the education of those students. They need equitable access to the internet.
Many children also depend on schools for meals and social interaction. Most working parents also depend on them to watch over their children while they are on the job.
Missouri is working with schools to encourage students to stay home when sick. They will no longer be promoting perfect attendance awards.
The state of Missouri will also be waiving in-school attendance for district accountability and school funding calculations. The state board of education will be helping to launch programs for in-state learning, virtual education, or a combination of the two.
They are encouraging students who do attend school in the classroom to practice social distancing, good hygiene and wear masks at schools. They say that multiple levels of protection will help limit the spread of the virus.
There will also be accounting for people in the buildings to help with contact tracing.
A professional development video series is being developed for teachers so they can adjust to teaching during the pandemic.
A full list of recommendations from the state of Missouri is expected to be released in July.