Sedalia school district starts school Tuesday

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SEDALIA - Sedalia students geared up on pencils, pens and notebooks as the start of the 2020-2021 school year began Tuesday. 

According to the Sedalia school district’s website, the district sent out a survey on whether or not to hold in-person classes for the school year. 

The survey’s results showed that both parents and staff were in favor of returning to classes in-person.

The district’s website said that students and staff are required to wear face masks.

The school district stated that face shields are not acceptable, however teachers may wear them for a limited time, but not as a replacement for masks. 

In addition, sanitizing stations and disinfecting surfaces will be a priority at all district facilities. 

Some Sedalia parents are relieved to have an in-person learning option because most say online learning isn’t effective. 

One Sedalia parent, Misty Belsha, said that her daughter, who is usually on honor roll, struggled with online learning in the spring. 

“Whenever you are sitting—just staring at a computer all day every day, you and your kid, there’s just so many distractions. Whether it’s your siblings running through the house, or just not having that interaction that you used to have in person, you become detached. It’s just not as engaging,” Belsha said.

Another parent, Laurice Hoke, has a child going into kindergarten, and she’s excited her child gets to experience school for the first time, as well as not having to stress finding childcare. 

“If they go virtual, then she would probably end up at daycare. Then, when me and my husband get off work, we’ll try to arrange getting her schooling and stuff done at that point.”

Hoke also explained that her child’s kindergarten class has a designated area for “mask breaks” when needed. 

Belsha said it is vital for students to have a structure, in-person routine for mental health reasons. 

“I feel like the mental health risks outweigh the COVID potential risks. At this point, these kids need some normalcy. I’ve talked to so many parents throughout the town from different age levels, and so many of them [students] have struggled with it. 

Belsha said that overdose and suicide rates have increased in the town since COVID-19 struck.

“Honestly, our overdose and suicide rates for adolescents has increased substantially. Now, our town has a bit of a drug crisis. These kids need that accountability, they need to be somewhere in person during the day. All of this extra free time has been horrible on their mental health.” 

According to the district’s website, the district will turn to online learning of COVID-19 numbers reach too high.