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Elementary and middle school update

Important update graphic 11/4/2020 -- The following email was sent to Parkway elementary and middle school families today.

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Dear Elementary and Middle School Families and Staff,

We have an important update to share with you on our plans for students attending school in-person. The health data in our schools and community continue to trend in a more negative direction with some of the highest levels we have seen including all Parkway zip codes.

  • Since we returned to in-person learning, we have had at least one positive case of COVID-19 in 22 of our 23 elementary and middle schools and positive cases and quarantines related to high school athletics and activities. While the majority of cases have been traced back to transmission outside of school, the level of illness still presents a risk to our students and staff.    

  • We currently have over 300 students under a required 14-day quarantine from the St. Louis County Health Department. While we continue to support learning at home, we know two weeks out of school is very disruptive to learning. 

  • We currently have over 80 teachers and staff under a required quarantine. Keeping our employees well and maintaining enough staffing to support our students in-person is an ongoing concern.

  • The transmission rate of COVID-19 in our community increased from 1.06 to 1.16 in one week which is the highest level in our region since mid-August.

  • You can see all of this data and the number of cases and quarantines for each school on our Community Health Dashboard here.

Based on this current reality, and in order to slow the spread of illness and quarantines, our elementary and middle schools will continue on a blended schedule through November.

  • The blended schedule provides much smaller class sizes and allows for more social distancing in our classrooms and schools. As a result, this can reduce exposure and quarantines for our students. For example, if group one is quarantined due to exposure, in most cases, group two can continue learning in-person.

  • We believe a blended schedule offers us the best opportunity to keep our schools open while limiting illness, exposure and disruptions to learning.

Mondays will be distance learning days online with teachers with the same start and end times as a typical school day. For the remainder of the week, students will alternate learning at school and home depending on their group. You can see the updated In-Person Calendars for November here. This is the same schedule as our high schools, so families will be kept together and groups will attend the same days of school K-12.

As we approach the holiday season, we know families and staff may have more gatherings outside of school. So we want to be more cautious about students and staff attending school in-person around holiday breaks. Students will have distance learning days at home the two days before Thanksgiving break including instruction online with teachers.

Students will have instruction on days at home in the blended schedule. This is what students and families can expect.

Elementary School

  • On learning at home days, students can join class via Zoom for the morning meeting and lessons in English Language Arts and math. Teachers will provide assignments in Schoology for students to complete at home.

  • If a student is quarantined and feeling well enough to participate, they can also continue to join class via Zoom so their learning is not disrupted.

Middle School

  • The week of November 9, students will continue learning asynchronously through Schoology on days at home as they did these past weeks.

  • Beginning November 16, on days at home, students will log in to Zoom at the beginning of each class and teachers will provide assignments in Schoology.

  • If a student is quarantined and feeling well enough to participate, they can also join the Zoom at the beginning of class in order to continue their learning.

We are very disappointed that our students are not returning full time right now. We know this places a burden on parents and our employees, particularly for our youngest students and working families.

Our goal remains the same - to bring students back to school full time as soon as it is safe to return. We will carefully monitor and gather data in the coming weeks and continue to stay in touch with updates as we move forward.

We know that changes in plans and schedules this year have been challenging for everyone. This is not what we desire for our children and their learning experience. We appreciate your ongoing support and patience as we respond to the most current data and information to make decisions in the best interest of our staff and students.


Dr. Keith Marty
Superintendent
Parkway Schools