JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri parents, students and teachers are wondering what school will look like come August. But the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said they’re leaving that up to local school districts.
“While building closure was necessary in March, there are a number of serious consequences that can come from our students not attending school in person,” Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Dr. Margie Vandeven said.
Learning virtually at home due to the pandemic was not easy for all.
“There’s a great digital divide in our state. While educational opportunities continue to be provided throughout the school closures, one and five Missouri students could not take part in those options,” Vandeven said.
In preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, educators are learning how to return safely to the classroom.
“Educators need more training and professional development to do their jobs differently and provide instructions in this new way,” Vandeven said.
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education school districts have provided more than 19 million meals to students since schools have been closed.
“We know that schools being open is an important part of our economic recovery. Parents that work outside the home and cannot work at home are limited to affordable childcare and are often forced not to work,” Vandeven said.
Some school districts may require smaller class sizes or students to wear masks, but leaders agree that it’s time for school to be back in session.
“The school year is right around the corner and it seems when we started in January we weren’t even thinking about school and now here we are thinking about opening schools again and universities and getting the kids back in into the rhythm of education which we got to get them back to,” Gov. Mike Parson said.
MoDOT’s director also joined in Thursday’s briefing and said the state’s motor fuel tax is down 30% from last year at this time due to fewer people on the road during the pandemic.