R-II Schools Gear Up For 4-Day Weeks

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Responding to the requests of parents and to the lack of a spike in COVID-19 cases following the Christmas holiday, the Ste. Genevieve R-II School District has announced plans to increase the amount of live classes second semester.

When the semester kicks off on Jan. 25, students in grades 6-12 will be able to go to live classes four days a week, while staying home for virtual lessons just one day a week.

“Coming back from break, we have carefully monitored positive COVID-19 cases and close contact quarantines,” a letter to district parents stated. “We are happy to share that we have not seen an increase in positive cases for students and staff following the holidays. We continue to assess national, state and local conditions, and we believe that now is the time to try to bring our 6-12 students back for more in-person instruction.”

Wednesday will be the weekly day for virtual instruction, with live classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

At the December school board meeting, board president David Bova and superintendent of schools Dr. Julie Flieg reported that they had received many requests from parents to get student back into more days live learning.

The district stresses, though, that parents who are “not yet ready to send their student” for live school, do not have to do so. The virtual learning option is still available, if desired.

Elementary students are already enrolled in either live or virtual education options.

The letter to parents’ explained the district’s rationale in making the decision:

“We know that returning to a more traditional schedule is important for our students’ mental, social emotional and physical well-being.

“With a few weeks of school underway following the Christmas Break, with no increase in positive cases among students and staff, our concerns regarding community transmission post-Break have subsided.

“A 4-and-1 model will allow us to continue offering a virtual learning option for those families whose students are currently enrolled in our classes virtually, as well as any families who are not yet ready to send their student to more in-person learning days with the full student body. This 4-and-1 also allows many students a more gradual transition to more in-person learning.

“Switching the virtual day from Friday to Wednesday has advantages, including lessening the number of consecutive days between seeing our students in-person and ending each week with in-person learning.”

After spiking at 110 active cases in mid-November, the county’s COVID-19 rate has settled down. The number of active cases has generally been in the 30s or 40s since then. This has helped make the decision possible.