Springfield Public School District to unveil fall plans on July 23

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 7:09 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - At Sherwood Elementary in southwest Springfield, the Explorer Summer School program that started in July has given SPS officials the chance to try out some of their COVID-19 safety measures from spreading out desks to wearing masks and social distancing.

“All the students have individual supplies next to their desks so this summer we’re not allowing students to use community supplies,” explained Sherwood Principal Crystal Magers as she pointed through the door into a first grade classroom. “In the hallway we added ‘X’s to the ground to insure that when the students were waiting to use the restroom they were social distancing. For lunch the meals are delivered to the classroom so students don’t actually leave the classroom and eat in the lunchroom. We try to keep students from mixing with other classes just to alleviate the transfer of germs. Being a part of Explorer has really made me feel better about the fall.”

These safety measures from summer school are just part of an overall study that four work groups put together and presented to the school board this week in preparation for the fall semester.

The final plan will not come out until Thursday, July 23, but the research presented to the school board showed that over 95 percent of teachers plan to return to work and that 93 percent of parents plan on sending their children to in-person classes.

But that’s not the only option parents will have.

“We will be offering traditional seated-learning with additional safety protocols,” said Stephen Hall, the SPS Chief Communications Officer. “But if parents and students so choose, they will also have a virtual-learning option that they can select and we’re asking that they do that by July 31st because we’ll need to staff the district according to their preferences.”

Hall stressed that the virtual-learning option for students to stay at home would have the same curriculum as those choosing to physically be present at school.

He also explained that parents will also need to preregister if they want their children to ride the bus so the district can organize a bus system which is badly in need of drivers.

Masks will probably be required for all those riding the bus while inside the schools masks will be required for 6th-12th grade and recommended for K-5th grade.

But keep in mind none of this becomes official until Thursday, July 23 as the work groups are still finalizing their plans for re-entry and a lot can change even in a week’s time.

“These are uncertain times and there are many unknowns,” Hall said. “But the thing that gives us a lot of comfort and peace during these trying times is that we have a community of people rallying around our schools, collaborating with us to do everything possible to create a safe learning environment.”

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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