An important message about our return to school plan
7/29/2020 -- The below email was sent to Parkway parents and staff.
Dear Families and Staff,
As I mentioned these past few months, it is clear we must all be flexible and patient during these historic times. I cannot tell you how thankful and proud I am to work in a community that has been so supportive, flexible and indeed patient as we navigate our time together.
I also want to thank you for responding so quickly to our survey asking for your back-to-school learning preferences. We realize we didn’t give you and your family much time to consider the options and get your questions answered. We learned that 67% of families currently prefer in-person learning and 33% prefer virtual learning. Our next step was going to be to place families who chose the in-person option into groups to attend school either on Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays.
However, these plans have now changed.
Due to the continued increasing spread of COVID-19 in the region, on Monday St. Louis County Executive Sam Page issued a new directive prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people and limiting businesses to 25% capacity beginning this Friday. In order to help contain the spread of the virus, we simply cannot engage in face-to-face learning in a high quality way under these updated health guidelines. Additionally, current CDC guidelines state that schools should make decisions based on the level of virus transmission in the local community, which is currently at an all-time high. So per our Return to Learn plan, we need to switch to Distance Learning for all students. I have also shared a video update here.
Instead of starting on August 24 under the blended learning model (Option 1, Plan B as outlined in this video and in this graphic), we will begin with Option 1, Plan C which is Distance Learning, full-time learning online with Parkway teachers.
We realize this will be a disappointment for families who chose the in-person experience. It is disappointing to us as well. We worked extremely hard to find a way to get students back in school. We remain committed to getting students back in the schools as soon as possible because that is where they thrive the best.
We will re-evaluate prior to the end of the nine-week quarter on October 23. At that time, if it is safe to do so, we will switch back to Option 1, Plan B for families who chose the in-person learning option. At that time, families who selected Option 2, Parkway Virtual Campus, will be able to continue learning virtually. Before making any changes, we will re-confirm your preferences for either the in-person Plan B or to remain in the Parkway Virtual Campus option for the second quarter.
While we are in Distance Learning, all Parkway schools will use the same schedule and expectations already in place for Parkway Virtual Campus. To see school schedules and learn more about how Distance Learning will differ from the emergency learning that was in place last spring, please visit the Distance Learning page.
While this change is disappointing, doing so now will allow your child’s school and teachers to begin reaching out to you earlier and provide certainty for the start of the school year while we all deal with very uncertain times.
We sincerely apologize for this unexpected change to the start of school, and the impact it will have on many families. We will communicate with you along the way, and do everything we can to support you and your child’s learning. We appreciate your continued patience as we now all prepare to start the school year online.
Dr. Keith Marty, Superintendent
Jeff Todd, Board of Education President