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Educators say new Missouri guidelines provide flexibility for re-opening schools

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The first day of school is about a month away for some students in Northeast Missouri.

If you're a parent who's worried about what school will look like, superintendents said they want to clear the air about new guidelines from the state that were release this week.

Northeast Missouri Superintendents want parents to know that these new state guidelines don't mean all schools have to go back to school the same way,

"What the state was trying to do is provide the school districts with flexibility for the different situations that we're going to face. We know we're going to face in this upcoming year," said Lewis County C-1 Superintendent John French.

He said those changes mean teaching students from home will now count towards attendance. and while they have plans, they're considering what would work best for them.

"We probably would look at bringing in half of our students say on Monday and Tuesday that would be the brown group. Wednesday would be a full virtual day, Thursday, Friday be a gold group day," said French describing a situation where they might have to do a split schedule.

He said that first and foremost however, they want things to go back to normal as much as possible.

It's much the same at Knox County R-1, where Superintendent Andy Turgeon said that on-off day model wouldn't work for them.

"By no means does this mean that we have to do some kind of alternative schedule where we rotate students on a daily basis and we're not entertaining doing that at all," said Turgeon.

He said they'll either have all their students at school, or have them exclusively learn from home with their 1 to 1 device program, a plan he said they're improving on.

"[We're looking into] how do we streamline it and make it more consistent so parents know: 'Okay. You don't have school today because it's no cancellation here's your schedule so make sure....'," said Turgeon, "of course we did all the hotspots so all our families have internet access at home [as well]."

Back at Lewis County C-1, French said districts need to be ready to react to changes.

"There may be a point where we have to switch immediately if we're not planning for that. Then, we're not gonna be ready when it gets here," said French.

He said they're still waiting to decide what things will look like as they get closer to the start of the school year,

French said if guidelines from the CDC or health officials require social distancing for students, it could be difficult getting kids to and from school as well, but right now they're working to send out questionnaires to learn from parents and teachers what they want to see from the district's approach.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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