Pierce City offers options for returning students

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Plan remains fluid as pandemic evolves

With the ever-evolving changes in the attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), administrators at the Pierce City school district are deliberating the safest methods of providing instruction to local students.

Like many other districts, Pierce City is offering both seated and virtual classroom instruction.

While administrators believe in-class teaching is more productive, online classes are available through Launch, a statewide program that allows Missouri students access to courses that are designed, developed and delivered by Missouri educators. Students will also have access to classes not traditionally available in their home district schools. The program is suited for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. Virtual learning requires a semester commitment for students in grades 6-12 grades and a quarter-year commitment for students in elementary school. The deadline to choose the Launch option is Aug. 24. Those choosing to enroll their students in online instruction should email Shannon Holden, middle and high school principal, at sholden@pcschools.net.

Those attending seated classes will allow for extra cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces. Students will be grouped together with the same instructor all day every day to minimize the potential for cross contamination for elementary students and as much as possible for older students.

In addition, hand sanitizing stations will be available in multiple locations; large gatherings will be restricted as far as possible while implementing social distancing protocols; water fountain use will be restricted and students encouraged to bring water bottles from home and refill using the automatic water dispensers; families are encouraged to take student temperatures before sending them to school; and anyone having a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit should not attend classes.

Students and teachers are strongly encouraged to wear masks.

Students who ride buses will be encouraged to mask up during transportation, as social distancing is not possible. Buses will be cleaned and disinfected each time they are returned to the bus barn. Students will be assigned seats with their siblings and will load from back to front. Bus windows will be kept down, weather permitting, to promote air flow.

Although transportation will be provided, parents are encouraged to drop off or pick up their children from school whenever possible.

Breakfast will be grab-and-go and will be eaten in the classroom. Students will not use communal dispensers for silverware or milk, but will be handed those items by cafeteria staff. Tables are divided and arranged in the cafeteria so students are not facing each other. There will be an increase in the time between when lunches are served to student levels for additional cleaning and sanitizing of communal surfaces. Students will eat with their assigned grade levels or student teams to minimize cross contamination. Alternate dining areas will be available to allow students to practice social distancing.

In the events of another school closure, all classes will be taught through the Google Class learning platform for high school and middle school students and Seesaw for elementary school students.

In other news, Pierce City School District will once again participate in the MOBeef program, which connects schools and their food service professionals to cattle farmers and ranchers to "beef" up school lunches at no additional cost to the district.

Donnell Kleiboeker, representing Missouri Beef Industry Council, said the program includes an educational component for fifth grade students that covers beef life cycles, careers in agriculture, beef byproducts and nutrition information.

The board also completed the following:

Approved hiring Lowry and Associates to provide physical therapy services to eligible students of the district at a cost of $55 per hour.

Approved Melissa Brown to provide occupational therapy services to eligible students of the district at a cost of $65 per hour.

The next regular meeting of the Pierce City School Board will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 26, in the high school cafeteria.

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