Joplin Schools discuss upcoming summer school session

JOPLIN, Mo. – About a month ago, the Joplin School District was still unsure if they could have on-site summer school, or virtual summer school. Now, they know they can be on campus and we spoke with the district about what they’re doing.

The Joplin School District says it’s excited to get summer school up and running, but that excitement isn’t getting in the way of being safe. Sarah Mwangi with Joplin Schools says “We’re taking the steps that we feel is appropriate yet we still want our kids to come together in a classroom and still be able to do school and have school together, so it’s a healthy balance of those two.”

There have also been changes to enrollment. Mwangi says “If parents do plan on sending their child to summer school we do need them to go and enroll, if they plan on attending an elementary site, or the middle school site, they do need to make sure they’ve re-enrolled even if they enrolled before.”

Mwangi says that’s because someone who may have enrolled in February may have since changed their mind. Nicole Taylor is a Joplin parent who’s son attended summer school in Joplin in 2019. Nicole Taylor says “It’s very beneficial especially with my son, he’s six, and he really benefits from school especially since he has a little bit of learning difficulties, he definitely benefits from that.”

Despite those benefits, Taylor says they don’t outweigh the potential health concerns of sending him back now. “I have one child, if he gets sick, especially with an immune system, his low immune system, I’m taking a chance of losing my child.”

Taylor says this wasn’t an easy decision, but she doesn’t feel the district is quite ready yet to welcome back students, even though she knows how important being in summer school is. “They teach him, they do in-depth learning something that I could never do, and he really needs that, he needs that structure, he needs that education that the teachers can provide and I can’t provide that for him and he is going to be behind when the next school year comes up, he’s going to be a lot behind.”

Mwangi says since last Friday they’ve had 800 students enroll for summer school. And they are confident they can still maintain small class sizes and safe practices while on campus.