Joplin parents react to school start date delay, re-entry plan

JOPLIN, Mo. – In a special meeting on Thursday, the Joplin School Board unanimously approved moving the start day of school to Monday, August 24.
For some parents, it brought a sigh of relief.

“This push back on the date for school has really allowed parents who have decided to home school virtually to have a little bit more time to get things organized and started since their home base is now school also,” said Becki Arnall, one Joplin mom who has decided to teach her child at home due to underlying health conditions within her family.

“I mean originally, they were gonna start later anyway and I don’t feel like the delay is that big of a deal. It’s gonna give the school a little more time to get prepared and do what they need to do to keep our kids safe,” expressed Heather Springer, another Joplin mom who says she’s opting to send her child to school.

Administrators say providing students with a safe learning environment is the ultimate goal, and part of why they agreed to go back to their original start date.

“Because of COVID, there was a State Board of Education waiver process instituted so we actually changed from an original adoption of August 24th to the August 13th date. Now, we’re wanting to move it back to the originally approved date for many reasons,” explained Joplin Schools Superintendent Melinda Moss.

Those reasons range from professional development for teachers to acquiring needed supplies.

“A lot of our PPE, and materials and supplies that we have ordered, including our student Chromebooks, have been delayed in shipment. So, we know that we’re going to get those a little later than we had planned for,” said Moss.

High-schoolers will be divided up and alternated, doing remote, online learning on the days they can’t be in class. While it might not be easy for everyone, these moms say they appreciate what administrators are doing.

“I think they need to do alternating days, even though it may not be the best for every family, I think that they’re making the best of a situation that none of us know really what to do with,” expressed Springer.

“For this, I just really feel like it’s temporary. We will be back in session, in school, in person, hopefully before we all know it,” said Arnall.

Moss added that this extra time will hopefully allow for more COVID-19 case numbers in the area to decrease.