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Parents share concerns with Springfield school plans

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 9:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - One month from Thursday, Springfield schools will be back in session. Students will primarily learn online, even if they choose to go back to the classroom.

If students choose to come back to school, they will only be in the building two days a week, with online learning the other three. Or, they can choose to go all online. Springfield Public Schools said this school year will require a foundation of flexibility from the district and from its families.

“I’m afraid kids are going to fall behind,” said Elizabeth Taliferro.

Springfield parents like Taliferro will soon be making choices. She said both options for students this fall will be challenging for working families and potentially detrimental to students’ success.

“Some parents don’t have the ability to stay home from work three days a week and still be able to provide for their family,” she said. “Then you also have those families who, unfortunately, just don’t care.”

Stephen Hall, with Springfield Public Schools, said the district is doing everything it can to keep students and staff safe.

“Our hearts go out to our families,” he said. “We know that these are difficult choices. We know that these are difficult and uncertain times.”

Springfield students can go back to the classroom twice a week, or learn completely online from home. Seated students will be in schools either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be used for deep cleaning the buildings.

“We’re being very clear. These are the options as they are presented to us with the facts right now. As things continue to change, additional modifications will be necessary,” Halle said.

Hall said the number of days students are allowed in classrooms could change after the first quarter. He said the entire district could also move to all online classes. Decisions will depend on guidance from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

“We want to make sure our families have choices, they feel valued, they know they’re appreciated and they know their school district is taking this seriously,” Hall said.

Masks will be required for all students and staff in school buildings, except for those with medical conditions. Taliferro said she understands why, but wishes she had one more option to choose from, especially since schools like Ozark, Republic, Nixa and Willard are offering full time, in-person classes.

“For those who aren’t comfortable sending their kids to school, who have the option to do completely online, I’m glad they have that, I also think five days a week should be offered to Springfield kids,” she said.

Families will have to choose what they want for their students, for the entire semester, by next Friday, July 31. Any students needing to ride the bus will also have to register by then.

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