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CVPA student return date coming into focus months after school shooting

All plans continue to remain subject to change depending on the progress of school building repairs.

ST. LOUIS — Families and guardians of those attending the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (CVPA) were notified Thursday of plans for students’ return to in-person learning.

According to a press release from St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS), in-person classes will resume on Jan. 17. The original plan to resume on Jan. 9 was postponed due to construction delays at the school building. 

In the meantime, students will continue virtual learning through Jan. 17. Then, they will observe half days from 7 - 11 a.m.

In addition, virtual options will remain in place for students who feel they need more time before returning to school, according to the release. Those in attendance will have counselors and other support available to them at school.

Back in October, two victims were killed, and several others were injured after a shooting at CVPA located at Kingshighway Boulevard and Arsenal Street. The victims were identified as student Alexzandria Bell, 15, and teacher Jean Kuczka, 61.  

St. Louis police officers arrived four minutes after the initial call and made entry into the school, according to Interim Police Chief Michael Sack. As students were running out of the building, they told officers there was a shooter armed with a long gun. The suspect had almost a dozen high-capacity magazines that each held 30 rounds.

While exchanging gunfire with police, the suspect was shot. He was taken to an area hospital where he died. In a press conference, Sack identified the suspect as Orlando Harris, 19, who graduated from the school in 2021. 

During months that followed the shooting, several efforts to grieve and to heal have been made by the St. Louis community, students and staff of CVPA and Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience (CSMB), which shares a building with CVPA.

Students of CSMB started in-person learning in late November with the option of remaining virtual for the rest of the school year. Collegiate suffered significantly less damage in the deadly shooting. 

All plans remain subject to change depending on the progress of repairs, according to the release.

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