PERRY COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the county, Perry County School District 32 in Missouri will be transitioning classes to 100 percent online instruction.
The school district announced that the last day of of on campus classes will be Friday, Sept. 4. Campuses will close to students at 3 p.m.
All athletics are allowed to continue through Monday, Sept. 7.
According to a letter sent to parents and posted online, the district made the decision to move courses online after the Perry County Health Department raised the community Risk alert Wednesday morning to Moderately High, or orange.
In accordance with the District 32 reopening plan, all classes would transition online if the Perry County Alert Level reaches orange.
The widespread transmission of COVID-19 within our community has raised the Community Risk Alert this morning to Moderately High, or Orange.
Per our Roadmap to Reopening Plan, this means that our district schools will transition to 100% online learning to support local efforts to protect public health.
Let me be clear - the Health Department did not issue an order to close schools. This is the plan we as a district adopted in August. We use the Health Department’s meter as our source for local COVID-19 tracking information. By doing so, we have created a plan that gives our parents, staff and students clear expectations of the mitigating procedures at every level of community risk.
Our plan considers the best course of action for the continued health and safety of both the children in our care and the adults who are caring for them.
We know that any closure can present challenges to parents, especially in arranging for childcare, so we have created a “step down” process for closing. This will give parents the option of keeping their children in school until Friday. Those parents who are not comfortable with sending their children into the community or to school during this heightened alert level can choose to keep their children home during this time, with no negative impact to their attendance.
If you wish to pick your child up now, please call ahead to their school office. If you are choosing not to send them the rest of the week, call school today so their Chromebook can be sent home (for primary and elementary students).
Our campus will then close to students at 3 pm Friday, Sept. 4. We will continue to closely monitor the conditions in our community via the health department’s alert level along with the ability to staff our schools at the next risk level. We will provide weekly updates beginning Thursday evening, Sept. 10 concerning plans for the following week.
Parents and students will receive additional information about schedules and expectations for at-home learning from teachers this week.
All athletics may proceed through Monday, Sept. 7 under current ticketing guidelines.
Since this recent spike in COVID-19 cases started, I have been asked why District schools will close at heightened alert levels if we believe our campus is safe. We also know that COVID-19 does not seem to affect children as seriously as adults. So why close?
The short answer is that students do not attend school in a bubble. Our staff has also been impacted by the virus and, in some areas, we’re already experiencing significant staff shortages. We can’t have school if we don’t have teachers and substitutes, drivers and cooks. By closing during periods of community transmission, our staff will work in isolated conditions to lessen the likelihood of having to quarantine or isolate away from work.
This is a public health issue affecting us all. We are now at a level of community transmission that requires us to limit our contact with others to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are asked to reconsider activities that pose a higher risk of contracting the virus. With nearly 2,400 students and 350 staff members, our entire campus becomes a higher risk at the Orange level.
Now we’re asking every member of our District family to help us flatten this curve so we can get back to the yellow level and get back to school. However, that can only happen if we all work together to wear our masks, physically distance appropriately by not spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of those outside our own households, wash our hands, stay home if we’re not feeling well and, now, to avoid gatherings and activities that put us at increased risk.
Finally, I ask you for patience and grace for my staff as they navigate this “step down” to closure. They are learning this news at the same time you are. They’ve been thrilled to be back at school with our students, and I know they are committed to creating the very best opportunities for every child while they’re learning from home.
Please watch our website at www.pcsd32.com, where we will post additional information as it becomes available.
It’s my sincere hope and prayer that your family stays safe and well so that we may all return to on-campus learning sooner rather than later.
The health department did not issue an order to close school campuses.
The following is the district’s plan under the Moderately-High Alert (orange) Level:
- All students will be transitioned to 100% online instruction for 14 days. Status will be reviewed at Day 11, with an announcement on Day 12 for the following week’s plans.
- District 32 staff will report to campus to continue daily duties.
- All student activities and events are canceled.
- Wifi hotspots will located throughout the community on school buses. A list of those locations will be posted Thursday, Sept. 3.
- Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, daily breakfast and lunch will be offered by drive-thru pick-up at PHS Cafeteria. The menu and instructions can be found here.
The district said it will provide an update on their plans for the following week beginning Thursday evening, Sept. 10.
Information about schedules and expectations for at-home learning from teachers will be sent out to parents and students this week.
The district will reevaluate the Community Risk Alert level and issue an update on Sept. 17.
District leaders believe the plan to move to online classes for two weeks is in the best health interest for students, staff and the community.
On Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Perry County Health Department announced 30 new COVID-19 cases and six new probable cases.
Currently there are 102 active cases in the county, with 320 recoveries and four deaths.