Good afternoon, LSR7 Parents and Guardians:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on the district’s COVID-19 response and learning plans.
Public Health Update:
As you know, the district evaluates information from multiple sources — including local gating criteria and case data, scientific research and public health guidance — to inform our health, safety and learning plans this fall.
This week, public health officials shared with us that while Jackson County is experiencing an uptick in positivity and new case rates, the county has experienced few examples of significant school spread in educational settings throughout the metro where members of the school community are masked. Regional and national reports also indicate that the rate of transmission in schools where students are attending classes in hybrid or full-time models remains low.
Since the first day of school the district has implemented several mitigating factors in our buildings to limit risk in our school environments. Wearing masks, social distancing as often as possible and proactively quarantining close contacts of positive cases in our school community remain strong mitigating factors to prevent widespread transmission in our schools at a time when we know our students benefit greatly – both academically, physically and social-emotionally – from in-person learning.
Learning Model Update:
At this time, the district has determined that all grades 4-6 students who have chosen the in-person learning track will join pre-K-3 graders in learning in a full-time, in-person learning model starting on Nov. 16.
We will continue to monitor class sizes to adhere to DESE guidelines for standard class size. We are also committed to implementing CDC-recommended mitigating factors (mask-wearing, contact tracing, hand-washing, cleaning/disinfecting, social distancing) with the understanding that social distancing may not be possible to the degree it is being currently implemented in our buildings with more students in attendance.
At this time, grades 7-12 will continue to learn through a hybrid model and R-7 Online Academy students who wish to continue learning online will be able to do so.
With the knowledge that starting on Nov. 16, all K-6 students who have elected to learn in-person will be learning in-person full-time five-days-a-week, we know that some families may need different options to do what’s best for their students and family.
Since we have accelerated a return to in-person learning for our elementary students we will allow all K-6 families to request a change in instructional model for their child prior to the end of the fall semester on Jan. 21. This request will be in place for the remainder of the school year.
Starting at noon tomorrow, Oct. 21, families of all K-6 students may request a change in instructional model for their child. (R-7 Online Academy students may move to in-person learning and our current hybrid learners may move to the Online Academy.) The window to request a change will close at noon on Oct. 28.
The request to change will be submitted in the same way as our declaration forms were submitted in the summer. Grades K-6 parents can access the request-to-change-form in the Parent Portal of PowerSchool.
Families who do not wish to change their child’s current learning model do not need to submit a form.
LSR7 officials will continue closely evaluating guidance around school spread in school environments and exploring the impact this information has on allowing additional students to learn in a full-time model.
Regardless of what learning model the district is operating in, following health and safety measures remains critical for the benefit of our entire school community. Mask-wearing, hand-washing and staying home when exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are important. At-home screening checks should continue for all students and staff. Both the CDC and the JCHD have emphasized the importance of isolation and quarantining as mitigating strategies against COVID-19 transmission; the district’s return to school guidance can be found here.
Thank you for your support and cooperation as we prepare to conclude the first quarter. We will continue to provide updates both on Tuesdays and as we have new information to share.
Executive Director of Public Relations