Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School sticks with in person learning for students

Students are required to wear masks inside along with other safety precautions.
Tj Day School

JOPLIN, Mo. – The halls at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School are flowing with students once again.

“We are so excited to be back after six months of the campus being closed and students learning virtually last quarter of the school year, we are so excited to have kids on campus again, so we can teach them in person” said Head of School, Laura McDonald.

The school is doing in person learning only, but officials say they can easily switch to virtual if need be.

“If a class had to quarantine for two weeks we would use that system and then if we had a significant number of students, you know, test positive we would be able to flip very seamlessly into that platform”

Students are required to wear masks inside along with other safety precautions.

“All the classrooms have their own set of cleaners and disinfectants and things like that so yeah so we showed up all the water fountains and we’ve moved to those tankless water bottle stations, and then we don’t we aren’t allowing outside vendors for lunch anymore so that’s another, another thing we’re able to do that I think other schools are not” added McDonald.

Stairwells are also assigned for going up or down, all students have to bring their own lunches and parts of the school are sectioned off to certain grade levels to avoid any unnecessary interactions.

For senior Johanna Jeyaraj, she was happy the school chose to keep classes on campus.

“I mean just with social distancing and masks it really hasn’t inhibited our classrooms or our ability to learn in any way. I think it’s obviously not what anyone expected but we’ve been able to make the most of it as a school community.”

Though it is not how she expected her senior year to start, she is excited to be back.

“Having the opportunity to kind of lead the school community and like just underclassmen during the time it’s very unprecedented and something that we haven’t seen before, is an exciting opportunity.”

Because of COVID-19, enrollment at the school is down this year from 340 students to 300.

“Part of that is due to our caps on some of our classes, you know, whereas before our early childhood classes might be more around 22, we’ve kept those closer to about 18. There’s some of that and then some families I know wanted to do online at home and homeschool their students” said McDonald.

College Heights Christian School is also down in enrollment this year, with about a 5-6% decrease from the previous year.

And when it comes to the virus and education, it is something the Thomas Jefferson School will continue to monitor.

“We wouldn’t bring them back if they’re if we thought the risks are too high or if we couldn’t do it safely, that we feel like we have a solid plan in place” added McDonald.