Kirkwood elementary students going back to in-person learning

It voted to give parents and guardians the choice for their students to either return to in-person learning or remain online learning

KIRKWOOD, Mo. — The Kirkwood School District board voted on in-person learning for elementary students amid the coronavirus pandemic Thursday night.

It voted to give parents and guardians the choice for their students to either return to in-person learning or remain online learning with a Kirkwood teacher for the rest of the first semester.

“We want our kids to have the option to go back and learn in person,” said Libby McCandless, whose daughter is a 10th grader in the district.

McCandless and her daughter both protested with parents of elementary students Thursday night, to say they favor in-person learning for all Kirkwood students, over virtual learning.

“I had to take a leave of absence from my job to be home with my daughter who had been really struggling. The last five weeks have been really hard, “ said Libby McCandless.

“I absolutely hate online learning. I feel like I really cannot learn on a Zoom call. I want to go back to the classroom” said Addie McCandless.

About an hour and a half after their virtual meeting, the Kirkwood School Board voted unanimously and approved Superintendent Dr. David Ulrich’s plan.

It gives parents the option to choose to send their elementary kids back to class four days a week and attend virtual classes on Fridays or to stay with on-line learning altogether.

“They finally made the decision. I’m happy and excited that we’re getting back to school where the children should be back in class,” said Kirkwood dad, Matt Losse.

According to a release from the district, it asked all parents of K-5th grade if their intent was to send their students back to in-person learning or continue online learning.

The district received 2,287 responses or 86.4% of the official enrollment for elementary students. Of those responding, 302 (13.2%) selected to remain online with a Kirkwood teacher, and 1,985 (86.8%) selected in-person learning through the end of the first semester.

Middle schools and high school will continue online learning for now, the district said.



“As discussed by Dr. Page the Department of Public Health closely tracks newcases of COVID-19 among children and teens and recent data has indicatedthe positivity rate among children aged 5 to 9 is currently at 6%. recommendation for schools that may allow for the consideration oftransitioning their elementary school students to in-person education if theydetermine that is the right decision for them.”

Below is the elementary grade level schedule for a phased-in approach to second quarter from the district:

Oct. 12 and 13 – No school for elementary students.

Teachers and staff prepare classrooms and school routines with safety precautions for all.

Oct. 14,15 and 16  – Transition days for students in K-2

Students opting for an in-person return to school to meet the teacher, build connections with classmates and become familiar with the routines of school.

Students opting for at-home learning will meet the teacher and build connections with classmates via an online environment.

Oct. 19, 20 – Follow traditional schedule. No school for students PreK-12

Oct. 21, 22, and 23 – K-5 students in school

Transition days for grades 3-5

Students opting for an in-person return to school to meet the teacher, build connections with classmates and become familiar with the routines of school.

Students opting for at-home learning will meet the teacher and build connections with classmates via an online environment.

Oct. 26 – Begins the second quarter

Monday – Thursday in-person schedule for K-5 Students who opted in.

Fridays will continue to be a virtual learning day for all K-5 students for the remainder of the semester in order to ensure elementary students are prepared to pivot to at-home learning if the need arises.

KSD has 2,600 elementary students in five schools.

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