Springfield Public School Announces 5 days of In-Person Learning
On Tuesday March 9th, Springfield Public Schools announced that they will be going back to 5 days of In-Person learning, starting after Spring break. This only applies to the students currently enrolled in the Hybrid Learning option. Students that previously had Wednesdays as a virtual learning day will now be back seated in class. This announcement however does not affect SPS students enrolled in the Fully Virtual Learning option.
Monday March 22nd, will mark the start of the first week in over a year where students enrolled in the In-Person learning option will be back in seated classes 5 days a week.
SPS’s announcement comes as transmission rates of COVID-19 still remain at moderate levels in Greene County, Missouri, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a statement to parents SPS noted that the district will continue with the current safety protocols such as requiring face coverings for students and staff and thorough cleaning of SPS buildings.
However, it remains difficult to see how the district will be able to continue with there safety protocols while going back to 5 days of In-Person Learning.
SPS originally made Wednesdays a deep cleaning day. While students learned virtually, SPS facilities would be thoroughly cleaned. But now with students in school 5 days a week, there remains little time for a thorough cleaning of SPS classrooms and facilities.
There also remains the question of whether or not students will be required to wear a mask through the end of the school year. The City of Springfield mask ordinance is set to end April 9th. If the ordinance does not get extended past April 9th, then residents within the city of Springfield limits will no longer be required to wear a face covering. This would also mean that students may not be required to wear a mask unless SPS says otherwise.
Finally, there are still unknowns about when all staff in SPS can get vaccinated. While this process has started, many teachers and staff are still not vaccinated. Going back 5 days a week would mean that there is another day for the the virus to be transmitted, and another day of crowded class rooms, and as the warmer weather comes classrooms will be COVID-19 hot pots.
While SPS did work with the Health Department in making this decision, there still remain many unknowns. At this point it seems as though it would have been better for SPS to stick with the current arrangement, to make sure that we can keep transmission rates down in our schools and keep students safe.
At the end of the day only time will tell if SPS made the right decision in sending thousands of students back to 5 days of In-Person learning during a global pandemic that has no real end in sight.