Missouri Board of Education releases guidance for attendance this fall

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri State Board of Education recently passed some changes that would allow districts to use ‘hybrid’ schooling, a combination of virtual and on campus classes. We take a look at what that means for the district, and how parents feel about getting back to class.

The plan from the Missouri State Board of Education will allow for districts that may choose alternating days in class, or even those opting for am and pm classes, to not be impacted in attendance. And that attendance is key to school funding, where under the original setup, if a student is not physically on campus, they’re not counted as in attendance. Now, the changes allow for students to be learning virtually. Dr. Kerry Sachetta says “It will be available to us to have kids here part of the time and not part of the time and still not be penalized for attendance, so, again, as we sit right now, our plan is to have kids either here or virtual, but it’s nice to have that understanding that that flexibility is there.”

And parents feel the district’s plan to get back to class full time is essential. Sally Chesser “My girls really need it, I mean, there little bit of experience with it at the end of this past school year, they both told me that they just, weren’t getting as much out of it.”

Collin Bergen is eager for his daughters to get back, safely. “I like where there heads at on it, I don’t want anything to happen too soon, I don’t want to put anybody in danger, but I think all the parents are ready for it to get back to normal, as far as their work schedules go, they kind of depend on school, and I know the kids are ready, my daughters are.”

While he knows virtual learning is still possible, on campus is preferable. “I want them in class as much as possible, we did the Chrome Book thing when this all happened the last go around, so we’re ready for whatever happens.”

Dr. Sachetta says he wants to remind people that the district’s plan is still flexible and can change as the situation in the community changes.

We’ve also learned that the Webb City School District is implementing a plan similar to Joplin’s. According to a statement from the district, they’re planning in-person classes this fall, but will have a virtual option for parents who choose to keep their kids home.