R-II Enrollment Down Slightly; Survey On Live Learning Is Sent Out

By MARK EVANS

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Enrollment is down slightly this year for Ste. Genevieve R-II Schools. Dr. Julie Flieg, superintendent of schools, offered an explanation for part of the  drop-off at the Oct. 20 board meeting.

“I signed a lot of home school declarations,” Flieg said, noting that there had been about 40 students whose parents opted for home schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“A lot of the 4 students that were down, it seemed the parents made the decision to home school them,  she told the board. “Our enrolment is down, but it wasn’t a surprise especially since I signed those declarations.”

First-day of class estimates were 1,779 and were amended to 1,776, by the official end of September count.

A year ago the figures were 1,862 and 1,819. In 2018-19 they were 1,853 and 1,800 and in 1017-18 they were 1,774 and 1,788.

Preschool enrolment was 56 on the first day, compared to 58 a year ago and 52 two years ago. The public count at the end of September was 60, compared to 69 a year ago and 57 two years ago.

The preschool count may go up, however.

Board president David Bova asked if the home-schooling parents want to enroll their students later. Flieg said they would have to fill out the paperwork, then show their home school journal  and provide samples of work. Achievement tests might also need to be given.

It was noted that a reading and math assessment might be given in elementary school, to determine which grade they go into.

Flieg was asked what credentials are necessary to home-school children. She said Missouri had no requirements.

“Any parent may make the decision to home-school their children.”

VETERAN’S DAY PARADE PLANNED

Flieg said Student Council members from the high school and middle school have worked with Valle Catholic students to plan a Veterans’ Day parade.

“We can’t have our traditional Veteran’s Day assembly, but this is something we can do,” Flieg said. “We actually stole it from another school.”

SURVEY SENT OUT ABOUT EXTENDING

Flieg said a  survey had been sent out for sixth through 12th grade that day “the pulse” of students, parents and staff, to decide if classes should be increased to four live days and one virtual day per week.

“I would encourage parents … to read the information ahead of the survey,” Flieg said. “We’re going to be increasing the number of people in the building if we do this. When you put more people in one place, that means more people are going to be quarantined. You’re not going to be able to social distance kids and staff are going to have to wear their masks for much longer periods at a time.”

The elementary setup will not change.

The survey is due back at 4 p.m.,Oct. 27. It can also be accessed on the district website’s “Live Feed” section.

Board member Martha Resinger said that there were “a lot of thoughtful questions” on the survey.

“There was a lot of thought and a lot of good conversation about it,” Flieg said.

Some discussion then took part about the problems of trying to keep students safe in congested areas at school. Fluidity of students moving from various schedules was also addressed. Dr. Scott Mercer, middle school principal, said that  his staff has “tried to keep it reasonably fluid” for students who may have changing home situations that need changes in scheduling.

Flieg was asked whether staff has the right to request additional safety improvements. Flieg replied that she is trying to honor any such requests.

“We’ve told staff members, and we reiterated it a week ago, if you need Plexiglas for your room, whether it’s on your desk for the students, or  you just need something around your desk to go back behind to take your ask off and take a break, let us know,” she said. “We’ll get it. As long as we can get the Plexiglas and maintenance can get it built for you, we will.”