JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – Governor Mike Parson has announced that all Missouri public and charter schools will remain closed through the end of the school year. The Archdiocese of St. Louis elementary and high schools will also continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year.
“We were expecting it, but we didn’t think they would make the decision this quickly,” said Nancy Tucker, a special education teacher in St. Louis Public Schools.
Tucker, along with a countless number of other teachers in the district, are left to find new ways to spark students’ minds.
“We are the experts at modifying and adapting lessons and curriculum so we’re going to make it work but it’s definitely challenging,” she said.
The announcement came in a news release Thursday after a meeting involving the governor and education officials. The superintendents said the decision follows recommendations from local health departments and was made in collaboration with government officials.
A Facebook post from the Governor says:
We are ordering all Missouri public and charter schools to remain closed through the remainder of the academic year with the exceptions of nutrition services and child care that are outlined in our recent health order.
This recommendation was made by working together with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and several school superintendents from across the state — from both urban and rural districts.
Schools should continue remote learning for their students until the end date previously set on their academic calendars.Gov. Parson on Facebook
Learn more about this announcement here in remarks by Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.
St. Louis County Schools, St. Louis City Public Schools, and St. Louis Charter Schools sent a statement to FOX 2 also saying that although their buildings are closed, learning will continue remotely from area schools. They say the decision was difficult but necessary to help slow the spread of coronavirus and help save lives in our community.
“Sadly, you probably know by now that we’re not going to be returning to school this year,” said Dr. Chris Gaines, superintendent of the Mehlville School District. “The county superintendents met earlier today and in consultation with the county health department schools across the county are closing for the year.”
Administrators are finding some students have access to an internet connection, while others simply do not.
“Often times students who need access the most, often times don’t have it,” said Kevin Hampton, Ferguson-Florissant School District.
Hampton said administrators are fully aware of disparities. That’s why they’re using this time to do everything they can to help.
“Our teachers are having hours throughout the day where they are available to help all our students,” he said.
Another big challenge is parents working from home or being essential workers.
That added stress, Lindsey Williams says she knows all too well as a parent and second grade teacher.
She’s hopeful both could take this time to learn together.
“There’s some silver lining to it as well,” Williams said.
Even while class work is still being worked out for online instruction, Hampton says they are thinking of their senior and are opening up the floor to both parents and students for dialogue.
The next question right now is about summer school. Will that be in place this year?
Hampton said he did not know at this time but that’s a part of their daily discussions as well.
School buildings closed in the St. Louis region closed include:
- Affton School District
- Bayless School District
- Brentwood School District
- School District of Clayton
- Ferguson-Florissant School District
- Hancock Place School District
- Hazelwood School District
- Jennings School District
- Kirkwood School District
- Ladue School District
- Lindbergh Schools
- Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District
- Mehlville School District
- Normandy School District
- Parkway School District
- Pattonville School District
- Ritenour School District
- Riverview Gardens School District
- Rockwood School District
- Special School District (SSD)
- Saint Louis Public Schools
- University City School District
- Valley Park School District
- Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation
- Webster Groves School District
- St. Louis Charter Schools
- Confluence Academies
- KIPP St. Louis
- Gateway Science Academy
- Lift for Life Academy HS
- Lift for Life Academy MS & ES
- St. Louis Language Immersion School
- Lafayette Preparatory Academy
- Premier Charter School
- NorthSide Community School
- Hawthorn Leadership for Girls
- City Garden Montessori
- The Biome
- LaSalle Middle
- Carondelet Leadership Academy
- The Soulard School
- The Arch