Gov. Parson meets with Springfield area school districts to discuss fall reopening plans

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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As schools roll out their unique plans for the fall semester, set to start in just a few weeks, Missouri Governor Mike Parson is talking with administrators about the difficult process.

Wednesday the governor visited the largest school district in the state: Springfield.

Gov. Parson said Wednesday’s meeting at the Springfield Public School’s Kraft Administrative Building was all about listening and getting feedback from school officials.

“Education without a doubt is critical to our state, but so is safety,” Gov. Parson said.

Springfield was Governor Parson’s third stop as he touches base with school districts across the state. He’s already met with districts in Jefferson City and Neosho.

”We’re trying to get some feedback from the educators what their challenges are as we look to open up the school year,” the governor said. “Get some feedback from them of what they’re seeing and how we can be more helpful on the state level.”

Springfield Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. John Jungmann said he was clear with the governor about what his district needs.

“We’ve had some state budget cuts when it comes to education and we’re going to need every resource we can get our hands on when it comes to not just money, but staff because to reopen schools effectively we’re going to need all of our team members, so we reiterated the need for support of education financially,” Jungmann said.

The superintendent said the governor was supportive of the district’s ability to kick off the school year safely.

”I think that’s somewhere around 90% of parents are out there saying they want their kids back in school, we’re also looking at what some of the alternatives are like here in Springfield, where it’s a couple days a week, where you’ve got virtual,” Gov. Parson said.

The Governor said virtual learning is a good, but showed concern for low income children.

”We need to start talking about the nutrition side of that, where are they going to get fed? The medical side of it. The school nurse may be the only person they see if they do have problems,” Governor Parson said.”Fankly, let’s face it school teachers are challenged to do multiple things in today’s time but sometimes they have to be a parent as well as a teacher so to have that security for those kids we need to be thinking about that also.”

The governor said it is up to local districts to make the decision on what is best for their students. He does not plan to make a statewide guideline.

“St. Louis school districts and Kansas City are much different than they are in Neosho and Blair Oaks School district in the middle of Missouri, all of them has challenges,” Gov. Parson said. “As we talked to the superintendents today, whether you’re in Springfield or whether you’re in Billings those are totally two different systems and you have to adjust to both of them.”

Gov. Parson said he is confident in the decision making of the Springfield area superintendents.

“Good input today, good conversation with the administrators trying to find out how we move forward and to realize we have got to deal with the virus and we have got to deal with the schools at the same time,” Gov. Parson said.

Wednesday’s meeting with Springfield Schools lasted about an hour. The governor’s next stop is St. Louis.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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