During the school board meeting Thursday night, St. Clair Superintendent Dr. Kyle Kruse discussed a document released by the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA), titled “Pandemic Recovery Considerations: Re-entry and Reopening of Schools.”
The 97-page document addresses a number of topics related to COVID-19 and contains a number of suggested guidelines for Missouri schools to take into consideration when planning for reopening for the 2020-21 school year.
According to Kruse, while the document contains information that is helpful and highlights issues to consider, it also has caused some concern among the public, specifically in regard to the process of how school will operate.
Kruse pointed to specific language in the report that states: “This document is provided to LEAs (local education agencies) as an example of a health protocol an LEA could adopt. These standards are not required by law and are evolving as new information and recommendations come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
“LEAs need to work with local health departments to ensure that LEA protocols align with the most current scientific knowledge. LEAs also need to work with their stakeholders to adopt protocol that is consistent with community expectations.”
Kruse explained that implementing every measure contained in the MSBA document would radically change the nature and experience of school, and guidelines “are evolving.”
“At this point in time, Missouri is just now reopening,” he said. “The next few weeks will provide significant insight about the future of the COVID-19 issue, and will also help us understand which protocols are the most effective and appropriate.”
Kruse urges parents and community members to remain patient and attentive as the district continues to deal with new developments in the COVID-19 situation.
“I agree with MSBA that guidelines will evolve (perhaps significantly) over the next several weeks,” he said.
The district will provide press releases, social media posts and other information related to COVID-19 protocols and developments as they become available, he added. Any information about school that does not come directly from the St. Clair R-XIII School District should be considered carefully, as it may not be accurate, he said.
According to Kruse, the following is in place for the district:
• No sports schedules, programs or other student activities have been canceled or modified for the 2020-21 school year. Everything is still on schedule, as usual.
• Kindergarten through grade 12 in-person summer school is scheduled for July 6-31.
• The regular school year is scheduled to start Tuesday, Aug. 24.
• Bus routes are expected to run as usual, although modifications will be considered and parents may choose to bring students to school instead of using bus transportation.
• Over the next few weeks, the district plans to establish specific COVID-19 protocols to keep students as safe as possible. The protocols will be determined through consultation with local and state health officials, and will be in accordance with guidelines in place at that time.