Middle school had been set for in-person Nov. 30
n the face of rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in the community and the challenges it has presented to staff and students, a plan to move middle schoolers to an in-person classroom setting after Thanksgiving has been nixed by Platte County R-3 School District.
In addition, R-3 announced that all current in-person learners would shift to a virtual setting for Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24, which are the final two days of classes prior to the Thanksgiving break.
In a message to parents sent Wednesday, Nov. 18, R-3 officials said: “As you have probably noticed in communications from the district and from our local health authorities, the number of positive COVID-19 cases is increasing in our area, as is the number of staff and students who have tested positive or have had to quarantine due to exposure. As a result, our ability to provide appropriate staffing and a consistent learning experience has become a challenge, particularly over the last two weeks.”
The announcement told parents that the district’s previous plan to do a phased return to full in-person learning, which was approved by the board of education in October, has been paused. Middle schoolers were set to return to in-person on Nov. 30, and high schoolers were scheduled to return to in-person starting after Christmas break.
“In-person learners in these grades will continue with their current alternating schedule learning scenario,” R-3 told parents in the Wednesday communication.
“We will continue to monitor our situation and collaborate with our local health authorities on our plans to return to full in-person (with a remote option) starting with second semester for all secondary learners,” the notice states.
THE SHIFT TO VIRTUAL
FOR NOV. 23-24
“Because of this staffing challenge and the likelihood of additional challenges securing substitutes before the Thanksgiving holiday, Platte County School District in-person learners will attend classes on Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24 virtually. Teachers will conduct learning on these days via Google Classrooms or Canvas and the learning will generally follow the same schedule as a regular in-person day,” the district says.
Remote learners will continue as regularly scheduled. Y Club services will be consolidated to Pathfinder Elementary and will be available from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on these days for families already enrolled, according to the district’s message.
PAUSING THE IN-PERSON PLAN
The district told parents that local health authorities and area health professionals “have reiterated that in-person learning is in the best interest of students when effective infection control measures are in place. In addition, they recognize that students are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in the broader community than they are on school grounds and that schools provide structure and increased compliance with mitigation measures, including physical distancing, face covering wearing and hand washing,” the district says.
“However during a time when cases are increasing, local health authorities and area health professionals agree that compromising physical distancing in our most populated schools is not advisable. For now, the alternating schedule allows us to have regular contact with our students, while maximizing our ability to physically distance,” R-3’s message to parents states.
“As we have stated before, we desire our students to have the opportunity for face-to-face instruction, so long as it’s safe to do so and we have the staff available on site,” the district adds. “Please help us commit to the best practices we know will prevent the spread of COVID-19. We need the assistance of our entire community to reduce the spread and improve our ability to provide in-person learning.”
“While we continue to plan for a full return to in-person instruction, we want to reiterate that parents and students should prepare for any learning scenario to become our reality, depending on changing circumstances,” R-3 officials said.