A Series for Staff and Families on the District's Plans to Resume In-Person Instruction
WHO: Elementary students and students with the need for special services provided by the District, such as speech therapy, physical therapy and therapeutic support, will have the option to return to their home school site for in-person instruction.
Virtual learning will remain an option for families that want to continue in that instructional model.
WHAT: In-person instruction at school sites with all COVID-19 protocol in place.
  • All staff and students (all ages) must wear masks on the bus and in the school building.
  • Classes will be capped at roughly 10 students.
  • Meals will be eaten in the classroom to reduce interaction between classes.
  • Outdoor spaces will be used for instruction, when possible. 
  • The number of custodians will be doubled at each school site to ensure frequent sanitization of high-touch areas.
WHEN: The following schedule has been prepared to ensure school sites, teachers and administrators are ready to accept learners for the 2nd Quarter. 
  • Instructional support centers will close on Wednesday, October 14.
  • Staff who were temporarily assigned to the ISCs will return to their home schools on Thursday, October 15. 
  • Teachers will prepare their classrooms to resume in-person instruction on Friday, October 16. All PK-12 building staff are to report on this day, regardless of virtual or in-person assignment.
  • Students in PK through grade 2 will be welcomed back to their home school sites on the first day of 2nd Quarter, Monday, October 19.
  • Students in grades 3-6 will be welcomed back to their home school sites a week later on Monday, October 26.
Plans for middle and high school students are still in development. Students who are enrolled in Edmentum will remain in that program through the end of the 2nd Quarter. All other students will be enrolled in virtual learning.
WHERE: All elementary and PK-8 schools: Adams, Ames, Ashland, Bryan Hill, Buder, CJA, Clay, Columbia, Dewey, Dunbar, Farragut, Ford, Froebel, Gateway Elementary, Gilkey Pamoja, G.W. Carver, Hamilton, Herzog, Hickey, Hodgen, Humboldt, Jefferson, Lexington, Lyon @ Blow, Mallinckrodt, Mann, Mason, Meramec (opened early), Monroe, Mullanphy, NCNAA, Nance, Oak Hill, Patrick Henry, Peabody, Pierre Laclede, Shaw, Shenandoah, Sigel, Stix, Walbridge, Washington Montessori, Wilkinson, Woerner, Woodward.
And, specialty schools that serve various student groups: ETS @ Madison, Gateway Michael, Nottingham CAJT.
WHY: Recognizing an urgent need for some SLPS families to have an in-person option, the District opened 24 (reduced to 22 based on enrollment) instructional learning centers across the city.
  • These ISCs have been running successfully, serving some 1,000 students daily, since August 31. 
  • Early on, Stix ECE adjusted its model to serve as an in-person instruction site for PK students. 
  • Meramec Elementary returned to in-person instruction this week.
Additionally, on August 30, 2020, 93 pediatricians from the Metro East and other areas throughout Illinois released a letter in strong support of students returning physically to school.
"Thus far, the data continues to support that children are not the primary spreaders of COVID-19. Kids are handling this virus exceedingly well. They tend to have mild viral illness (like a cold) or be asymptomatic if they do become infected. Younger children, especially, are much more likely to get the novel coronavirus from a close contact adult than they are to give it to them. Asymptomatic spread from children appears to be infrequent, and with rare exception, data to date shows that schools open this spring around the world did not experience any significant transmission."
The pediatricians argue that remote learning is detrimental to children and adults. Youth with special needs are among those most negatively impacted.
"Already we are seeing a significant increase in child abuse cases in our pediatric emergency rooms and treating more depression in our offices. Beyond the educational shortcomings of remote learning, children are missing out on critical services such as speech and physical therapy, assessment of learning disabilities, social skills development and counseling services, school breakfasts and lunches, and opportunities to identify and address abuse and food insecurity."
The pediatricians noted the letter was released in unity with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC.
The City of St. Louis Department of Health has been reviewing our plans every step of the way and supports the decision to bring our youngest learners back to the classroom.
NEXT ISSUE: In the next part of this series, we will do a "deep dive" and share the various precautions being taken to ensure we are providing the highest levels of safety in our return to in-person instruction. 
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