SLPS superintendent puts forth preliminary plan for reopening schools this fall

Missouri

St. Louis Public School District Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams.(Photo by Roberto Rodriguez, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

ST. LOUIS – Tuesday evening Dr. Kelvin R. Adams Superintendent of the St Louis Public School system briefed the board of education on his preliminary plan to reopen schools for the 2020-2021 school year this fall.

The plan calls for the district to offer parents two choices:  100-percent virtual classes or in-person education at neighborhood schools.

Currently, all St Louis Metro schools’ districts in Missouri are planning to release their plans for reopening schools this fall on July 20th.

Superintendent Adams plan offered the following:

  • Principals return to buildings on Thursday, July 15th
  • Teachers and Staff will all be tested prior to the school year (some in school buildings)
  • 4th grade and above, all staff and kids must wear face coverings
  • Kids wear masks on the bus, will likely have assigned seats (would help with Contact Tracing)
  • Every student & Staff will get 3 masks (cloth)
  • All field trips would be virtual
  • Will measure classrooms to figure out how many people can be in each with social distancing
  • 300 hand washing stations ordered
  • The school day may be shortened to enable deep cleaning
  • An expectation that every school will have a full-time nurse
  • Families would still be able to go to a location and pick up food if they are on the virtual plan
  • Currently, the district is looking to hire more custodians
  • Still working with the state and City of St. Louis Health Departments on sports

Dr. Adams also told the board that teachers have not been surveyed on the preference of virtual/brick and mortar.  But did say the board will have to make the final decision on whichever route they take in-person classes or virtual classes. Adams wants ESL and similar special needs families to have the ability to come into a building to get support even if the district went to a fully virtual schedule.

One board member voiced concern over not having a plan for social distancing on school buses. Adams told the board that it is not practical to do every other seat on buses for the children.

Board members also wanted to know any additional impacts from going 100-percent virtual, to that end Adams said there was a strong likelihood that school district in St. Louis County would offer dual options (in person or online), the implication being that families may leave for private, charter, or other schools that offer options the city won’t.

Adams additionally said that If the district were to go 100-percent virtual, there is the potential that they would not need bus drivers, custodians, and security leading to job losses.

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