Dallas County School District reconsidering reopening plan

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 9:01 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - An Ozarks school district is reconsidering how to teach during the coronavirus. Right now, Dallas County students are only allowed in school buildings twice a week, which is proving to not be very productive for their education. The district is weighing students' success and safety when deciding how to move forward.

Crystal Thompson’s daughter started kindergarten in Dallas County this fall.

“It’s tough," Thompson said.

Her five-year-old is now learning from home most of the week with worksheet packets from the school.

“I think it’s putting them behind for future years, for next year and the year after that," she said.

That’s what superintendent Dr. Tim Ryan wants to avoid.

“We’d like to see students every day of the week but with the status of COVID-19, that’s not always possible," Ryan said.

The district started off the school year with students in classrooms five days per week. In mid-September, they switched to a hybrid model. Some in person, some online schooling.

“We know and we’ve known for some time, students don’t do well when they’re not in school," Ryan said.

Dallas County, as a whole, has been averaging from 15 to 30 active cases at a time in recent weeks. This past weekend, that number jumped to 57.

Ryan said, right now, there are only two active cases within the Dallas County School District, one student and one staff member.

Ryan said, as of Monday, contact tracing has shown no student or staff member who has gotten sick was exposed to the virus in school buildings.

“Which tells us the safety measures and precautions we have in place are being functional and they’re working, so long as people follow those," He said.

Ryan said going all online would not make sense if students are already struggling, but he has to keep case numbers in mind when considering what to do next.

“We’re not making perfect decisions today. We can’t right now. What we can do is make the best decisions with the information that we have, keeping students' safety in mind. We’ve got to remember we’re an academic institution and the number one thing is we’ve got to get students educated,” Ryan said.

Thompson is thankful school leaders are remembering students like hers.

“Risks and benefits are just what you have to go with. I think the school is doing what they can," she said.

The superintendent and other school leaders will weigh their options this week. He said they will let parents, students and teachers know when they make a decision.

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