UPDATE: Jefferson City Schools announce re-entry plan, students choose virtual or in-person

1 month 1 day 3 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 10:42:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
By: By Jasmine Lotts, Peyton Headlee & Marisa Rios KOMU 8 Reporters & Greta Serrin, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Schools announced the re-entry plan for the school year on its website Wednesday morning. 

Students will have the option to return to in-seat education, or use Launch for virtual education.

“We must acknowledge that returning to in-seat education will introduce a greater risk of exposure, and that each of us has a vital role to play when it comes to following the re-entry guidelines,” JCPS said in the release.

According to the JCS website, the decision was prepared based on survey results from more than 3500 parents and staff members. 

The surveys included questions asking how likely parents would be to send their children back into the classroom if there were daily mask requirements, temperature checks, increased cleaning and social distancing in the classroom. Survey results show participants are in favor of in-seat schooling, social distancing and temperature checks. 

According to the website, the district was looking for ways to provide alternative options to meet a wide variety of family needs. It will allow students and parents to choose between online or in person.

Students must apply and be approved for virtual learning, which will be through Launch. There is a 14-day period where students can opt to go back to the classroom and drop out of Launch.

But, once students start class they must remain in their type of learning for the duration of the semester, according to the release. It said there will be “learning opportunities” for students who miss school due to being ill or quarantined. It is unclear what those opportunities will be.

If students are not successful with virtual learning the release said they are unlikely to be approved for virtual learning the following semester.

Along with learning setting, more sanitation going into new semester

Increased sanitation efforts are a key priority to the district, the release said.

Custodians will thoroughly cover high touch surfaces in the building during school hours, according to the release.

Hand washing stations and sanitizer will be in every classroom.

Social distancing within the classroom

The district is encouraging social distancing to limit exposure.

Students must go directly to each classroom and will have assigned seating.

“Modifications to meals will be made as needed (for example, some students may eat meals in the classroom, some students may eat meals in other common areas to limit the number of students in the cafeteria),” the release said.

A school within the district is only required to shut down if a student tests positive is at the school on the same day as being tested, according to the release. This means, if a student goes home sick on Monday and gets tested on Tuesday with a positive result, the school and classroom are not required to close.

Masks

Students in 6-12 grades will be required to wear a face covering in any situation where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Students in K-12 will be required to wear masks on the bus.

All staff members will be required to wear a mask or face covering.

Parents just wanted answers

Kimberly Shepard is a mother of six children in the Jefferson City School District. She said she is eager to hear the re-entry plan.

“I just want a definite. I just really want to know what to expect for sure, because that makes planning a lot easier,” Shepard said. “If it was a perfect world and everything was good, I want them back in school.”

She said her children had plans to participate in online summer school classes, but after one day of the curriculum, they had a change of plans. 

“When we tried the summer school program, none of us knew how to do that. And it wasn't user friendly,” she said. “We made it through one day of summer school before I decided I just didn't have time to sit down and try to do that with six kids because it was crazy.”

Shepard said she and her children are in favor of returning to the classroom. 

KOMU 8 reached out to JCS for more information. JCS said it will not be doing any interviews until after the plan is announced Wednesday morning. 

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