Area superintendents said as they continue to navigate this historic COVID-19 health challenge, nothing is more important than protecting the health of students, employees and the communities they serve.

With many businesses starting to go back to work, Franklin and Gasconade County school districts also are preparing a phased approach to school re-entry for things like child care services, summer programming, athletics/activities, and the return to school in August.

In a joint press release from the Washington, Union, St. Clair, Sullivan, Meramec Valley, Franklin County R-II, Lonedell, New Haven, Spring Bluff, Strain-Japan, Gasconade County R-I and Gasconade County R-II school districts, school officials said they will continue to review guidance from the Missouri Department of Health, CDC and various school-related organizations, with the ultimate goal of reopening schools and welcoming students back into the classrooms in August.

Timelines

The superintendents said they are focused on making just-in-time decisions.

Planning is currently in progress and will be ongoing throughout the summer, but final decisions regarding protocol and services will be issued a few weeks prior to resuming activities.

The superintendents said this will allow schools to align safety practices to the most recent guidance at that time.

Individual school districts will send information to their parents containing guidance specific to their school district.

For districts allowing activities to resume in June, guidance will be sent no later than Thursday, May 28.

For July activities, such as summer school and extracurricular practices, guidelines will be sent to families by mid-June.

Parents can expect safety protocol related to the start of school in August to be released by the last week in July.

Fluid Situation

School officials said while they recognize that some patrons would like guidance to be released earlier, it is important to note that much will change over the next couple of months and making decisions too early will likely result in additional changes at a later date.

The superintendents said the past two months have been an incredibly challenging time for the families in Franklin and Gasconade counties and across the state of Missouri.

“We want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we have dealt with this unprecedented situation,” they said in the release. “We look forward to seeing our students again soon.”