Schools extend wellness break

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Classes to remain out of session through April 24

Due to the effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus), schools in the Barry and Lawrence county area have decided to extend their wellness breaks through April 24.

Russ Moreland, Monett superintendent, said the decision was a collaborative one among superintendents of schools in Barry, Lawrence, Newton and McDonald counties.

“From the information we had, it seemed obvious we would not be back in school by April 6 and we did not feel it was time to come back until our Health Departments felt it was safe,” he said. “We picked the avenue we needed to go in and tried to make a decision together because local decisions can impact other districts.”

Moreland said the move allows staff, students and parents to prepare quicker and have less anxiety about what the decision may have been closer to the original April 3 end to the break.

“As things developed, we look at where we are now, and there’s no way we’d be able to come back on the 6th,” Moreland said. “Now, people can start planning for what they will do from the 6th through 24th.”

Moreland said the meal service, in conjunction with Life360, will continue as-is throughout the duration of the break. The extended closure also still impacts all extra and co-curricular activities, events, practices and before or after school programs.

Monett has also been passing out devices to allow students to access educational resources at home.

“We have been working on getting devices passed out and preparing packets for those who may not have internet access,” Moreland said. “We will also have training for staff to help them use online platforms to reach out and connect with students and families.

“It’s like we are prepping for the first day of school all over again on April 6.

Moreland said the strategy is a new experience for all involved.

“This is the new normal for a few weeks,” he said. “We ask that people be patient because we are figuring this out as we go, and there will be some speed bumps. It’s a learning curve for everyone.”

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