Missouri state education commissioner says it’s time for kids to return to class

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As school districts around the state reach the quarter-mark of the academic year, the state’s top education official says some teachers are having trouble getting hold of students who are learning online – while other districts are constantly paying for more personal protective equipment, making this a school year like no other.

“Attendance officers, those teachers who are making calls and trying to connect with parents and checking in on kids and in some cases going door to door knocking and trying to find those families and making sure they are enrolled somewhere or getting the assistance that they need,” said Margie Vandeven, Missouri’s Commissioner for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Carol Hallquist, a member of the State Board, said earlier this week that attendance for those students who are still virtual, is spotty, and near 50 percent in the Kansas City area.

Unlike other states, in Missouri, it is up to local school boards and superintendents to decide if classes should be held in classrooms.

“While I see that as an advantage, it definitely creates challenges because it would be easy for me to make this global statement and I think in many ways that would be easier but it’s not always better,” Vandeven said.

There’s no one-size-fits-all for the education system, but Vandeven says it’s time for students to be back to in-person learning.

“I believe our kids are better off in classrooms when they’re with their teachers,” she said.

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