WENTZVILLE, Mo. — The Wentzville School District's Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday night to move middle and high school students to virtual learning.
Pre-K and elementary schools will remain in-person for now.
According to Wentzville School District Superintendent Curtis Cain, the increase in transmission in the district's community in recent weeks resulted in staff absences related to COVID-19 that became problematic at multiple buildings.
"As I shared with the Board, we have exhausted all available resources and we simply cannot safely sustain the staffing and supervision at all buildings. We have prioritized keeping Pre-K through 6th grade students in person as our middle and high school students are each assigned a device and are better equipped to learn virtually without as much supervision. By moving our middle and high schools to virtual, we will have staff available to deploy to elementary buildings to support our efforts to continue in-person learning in grades Pre-K through 6th grade," Cain said.
Below is the plan outlined from the district:
- Move Holt, Liberty and Timberland High Schools to LEVEL 3: Virtual Learning beginning Monday, Nov. 16 through the end of Winter Break with a tentative return to in-person learning on Jan. 4, 2021.
- Move Wentzville Middle School to LEVEL 3: Virtual Learning beginning this Thursday, Nov. 12, with a tentative return to in-person learning on Monday, Dec. 7.
- Move Frontier Middle School and South Middle School to LEVEL 3: Virtual Learning beginning Monday, Nov. 16, with a tentative return to in-person learning on Monday, Dec. 7.
The change also comes after an increase in COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area and a spike in hospital admissions at area hospitals.
"My decision might not be right for somebody else, but I still think my children deserve the ability to attend five days face to face," said Haylee Hercules, a parent in in the Wentzville School District.
Over the summer, Hercules and dozens of other parents protested against virtual learning for their kids.
Hercules' daughter is a fourth grader in the district.
“I do feel that in-person learning is safe and quite frankly we parents have an on-the-record interview with our health department director who states it is safe for our children to attend five days in school. I do not have any worries and I do not agree with the school board’s decision,” Hercules said.
“They’re failing our kids. The number one priority of school districts is to educate. It’s not public health,” said Representative Justin Hill, who represents District 108, which includes Wentzville, in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Hill pushed for students to remain in class five days a week.
“I have parents calling me saying their A+ student is failing because they’re forced to go into a virtual program that has no experience teaching virtually,” said Hill.