ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is encouraging all school districts in the county to offer virtual classes this fall. He also said he knows virtual classes are not ideal and access to technology is not evenly distributed across the county.
Page held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to discuss the back-to-school process and youth sports.
“We rely on our schools. We rely on them to teach our children. But of course, without schools, parents can't go back to work.”
He said a group of public health experts, teachers and others have been working together since the beginning of the pandemic to come up with a plan.
“This spring, schools had to close due to the pandemic to keep kids safe in our community. Since that closure, this working group of superintendents, public health experts, teachers, pediatricians have been working together on a plan so kids could go back to school this fall. That conversation continues even today. I hope that we can all agree that the discussion on how we reopen schools must keep the health and welfare of our kids, teachers, staff and their families at the top utmost priority.”
He also said he wants school districts to give parents as much notice as possible.
“But I also want to emphasize that I strongly encourage each school district to offer a virtual option to parents this fall,” he said. “I'm asking school districts to give parents as much notice as possible concerning their plans and their back to school preparations. I know that virtual school is not ideal. Access to technology is not evenly distributed across the county. We know that.”
Page said the county is working to close that gap.
“Also, kids still need to eat. And we know that many kids do not have access to breakfast and lunch at home easily and depend on our schools to provide those meals. And county government is doing everything we can to address these gaps that our schools depend on to take care of our kids,” he said.
Page said the county continues to look for opportunities so virtual school can be an option for all parents.
He said he spoke with Missouri Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday about the importance of virtual options for parents and making sure schools have the funding.
Page also discussed restrictions on youth sports and continued to stress the importance of wearing face masks during his briefing.
Full press conference below