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Jefferson County schools release reopening plans

Parents and students will have decisions to make before the first day of class this fall

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — Schools across the St. Louis area are giving parents and students a better idea of how school will look this fall. For many families, they'll have some say in the matter: return to in-person learning or continue virtual classes?

Below are the schools that have released their plans. This list will be updated as more districts share their plans.

READ ALSO: These St. Louis area schools have released their reopening plans

De Soto #73 School District 

The district released its 30-paged plan Monday, detailing its guidelines. Students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, but not required. The district will provide a cloth mask to each student.

Students will be required to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands upon entry to school buildings. There will also be signage encouraging good hygiene and social distancing.

The district will provide Chromebooks to all students from kindergarten through 12th grade. And in the event of a closure, students will be allowed to take them home.

To read the entire plan from the De Soto School District, click here.

Festus R-VI School District

Festus R-VI School District was the first district in Jefferson County to release its back-to-school plan, giving parents and students a choice of how they want to learn this fall.

The school district released a 30-page “Back to School Re-Entry Plan” Monday morning. The plan breaks down school protocols based on grade level and a four-level COVID-19 indicator, which ranges from traditional school as it was before the coronavirus to school closed.

Parents and students also will have the option to return to in-person classes or opt for online classes called “Festus Online”. Families choosing the virtual learning should include that choice on the online registration and then schedule a meeting with the school officials, the district said.

District officials said six committees made up of more than 70 staff members worked for months to put together the plan. They said it was designed to be flexible in case there’s a dramatic shift in the pandemic situation.

"The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority," said Superintendent Link Luttrell. "Today's release reflects what the situation is today, however, as with everything related to COVID-19, the situation can change daily. Our plan is a flexible one. We stand ready to adapt as the circumstances warrant."

The plan is meant to serve as a district-wide guidance for schools. Individual schools are working on specific plans, which will be released the week of Aug. 3. The first day of class is set for Aug. 24.

Other highlights of the reopening plan include:

  • 1:1 Chromebooks for grades 1-12 (Grades 7-12 take home, grades 1-6 will take home in the event of a full closure)
  • Face coverings will be "required as directed for the safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff."
  • Hand sanitizer will be made available in every classroom
  • Assigned seating on school buses
  • Essential visitors only allowed inside schools

Students and staff members also will be required to do a self-assessment of their health every day. They’re asked to answer eight questions to determine if they’re at risk of exposing others to COVID-19.

You can view the entire Festus R-VI Re-Entry Plan here.

Fox C-6 School District

Families in the Fox C-6 School District will have a choice between a flexible in-person learning plan and an entirely online plan. Neither option guarantees 100% in-school learning for the entire school year.

The “Flexible Learning Plan” is the district’s “all in” plan, meaning families are choosing in-person learning. However, the amount of in-person learning that happens all depends on the COVID-19 situation in Jefferson County.

“Families who select Fox C-6 Flexible Learning are agreeing to follow all safety precautions in this re-entry plan and understand that the level of in-person learning taking place will be determined by Fox C-6, not individual families,” the school district explained in its plan.

The flexible plan includes three levels of learning:

  • Level A: Fully in-person learning with safety precautions. When attending in Level A, students will attend school in-person, for their whole schedule with health and safety precautions in place.
  • Level B: Hybrid Learning. Students will attend school in person two days a week and virtually three days a week. Click here to learn more about the hybrid learning model.
  • Level C: 100% virtual learning. Students from one class, one school, or possibly the entire district will learn virtually with their current teachers and courses. The decision to transition to 100% virtual learning will be based on guidance from local health officials.

Families also can choose the “all out” plan, where students will learn virtually. Parents can make the decision one semester at a time.

Other highlights of Fox’s reopening plan include:

  • All parents and guardians will be asked to perform a daily health certification for their children) before sending them to school. Students showing signs of illness may not attend school.
  • Face coverings
    • Face coverings are required to be worn by all staff members and students in grades 4 and above when social distancing is not feasible.
    • Students in grades K-3 will be required to wear a face covering when directed to do so.
    • All students will be required to wear a face covering while riding the school bus.

The Fox C-6 School District reopening plan is available online here. The school district also has answers to frequently asked questions and a YouTube video explaining the reopening plan.

Hillsboro R-III School District

The district has established a tiered system with four levels. 

  • Level 4: Schools are closed by the superintendent or local, state or federal agencies
  • Level 3: Schools open with restrictions from local, state or federal officials
  • Level 2: Schools open while practicing "best hygiene" practices.
  • Level 1: Traditional school

The district will also offer a choice between in-person or online instruction.

For the district's complete reentry plan, click here.

Northwest C-1 School District

Families will have a choice of in-person learning or online classes. Those who choose the virtual coursework will learn through OnLionEdu, which is taught by a Missouri Certified Teacher. Students must commit to the virtual learning option for the entire nine-week grading period for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students in grades six through 12 must commit by semester.

Face masks will be encouraged for teachers and staff members. Face coverings will not be recommended for younger children, but they will be encouraged for high school and middle school students.

The school district also released these highlights of its back-to-school plan:

  • Operate “in-person” education while following Jefferson County Health Department guidance.
  • Implement a daily self-health screening for staff and students.
  • Use physical distancing strategies with students and staff to the extent possible.
  • Have procedures in place for staff or students when they become or are sick.
  • Practice heightened cleaning and disinfecting applications.
  • Continue to offer transportation, food service and before and after school care.
  • Develop contingency plans to respond in case of another closure.

Northwest C-1’s full reopening plan is available online here.

Windsor C-6 School District

Families have the option to choose whether they want to opt into in-school learning or exclusively online learning. Students can lock in their decision one semester at a time.

Even students who choose the in-school learning option must know it’s a flexible plan that could change if COVID-19 numbers increase, the school district said. This could mean the district would enact a plan to have students on campus two days a week, while they continue distance learning the other three days.

Windsor said face masks will not be required. Superintendent Joel Holland explained that decision in detail on the school district’s website.

Other measures the school district is taking include:

  • Establishing social distancing protocols for various activities during the school day – classroom, cafeteria, gym, playground, etc.
  • Establishing a contained area for parents when checking students in or out for the day
  • Not allowing non-essential visitors into the school
  • Keep records of anyone who has been inside a building in case an outbreak occurs

You can read Windsor C-1’s full back-to-school plan here.

Back-to-school coverage:

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