Rise in COVID-19 cases spark controversy as Wentzville students return to in-person learning 5 days per week

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WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Controversy in the Wentzville School District after a plan to send many students back to school five days a week takes effect. It comes as COVID-19 numbers in St. Charles County raise concerns. 

Some 80 percent of the students throughout the Wentzville District started going back to school on a full 5-day a week schedule Monday.

That is happening as the COVID-19 positivity rate in St. Charles County is at nearly 15 percent and the head of the regional pandemic task force is sounding the alarm about the virus spreading in our area.

When school started in August Wentzville families basically had two choices—either have their kids go to school in- person which had different possibilities or do all virtual learning. Most chose the in-person option which started as a hybrid set-up. 

But then last month the Wentzville School Board decided by a five to two vote that in-person students would go to a full five day a week in-person schedule starting yesterday with pre-k through 12th grade students wearing masks. 

Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain says he did not recommend that move when it happened because of COVID-19 concerns. Some families who chose in-person don’t feel comfortable with their kids going back to school five days a week, they want to stay hybrid. 

Despite these concerns, we are told that families who chose the in-person option cannot switch to all virtual until the beginning of the next semester in January 2021 because the virtual academy is full.

“There’s no question the positivity’s heading you would say in the wrong direction at this particular point in time. If we have specific instances where we need to go ahead and go in and actually address what’s going on in a specific building we will in fact do that. We’re going to continue to look at the numbers themselves. We’re just going to craft a different means to do so moving forward five days a week here in Wentzville,” explained Cain. 

The Chief Communications Officer for the Wentzville School District Mary LaPak tells us that over the last two weeks, 40 students in the Wentzville district have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 300 students have had to quarantine because of exposure at school.

Those are the highest numbers since that they have tracked so far.

LaPak also says families were told when they chose in-person that is was for the entire school year but district officials will try to work with them going forward. 

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