St. Louis area schools eye July 15 to announce reopening plans

"No matter what we do there are going to be some who are mad."

Brian Kelly
May 28, 2020 - 3:04 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - For area students and parents, July 15 will be an important date. That's when most local school districts plan to release their reopening plans for the fall semester.

Education Plus CEO Paul Ziegler says the 59 districts and schools that are part of the cooperative have agreed that will be the best time to make their plans public. Ziegler says the plans will have some commonalities, including staff assessment and PPE use, and unique aspects including transportation and online learning options.

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"While for some of the suburban districts it's not an issue, connectivity," he says, "for some of our rural districts or urban districts, they may have similar challenges when it comes to how do we make sure if we do have to move into a virtual platform again that all of our kids are connected and able to access the educational resources that we offer?"

The districts and schools are meeting virtually every week, sharing ideas and best practices. Ziegler says it's difficult because educators tend to be planners, and anything they come up with is subject to change at any time.

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"It's that frustration and that fatigue of not being able to check off a box and saying 'that's planned and we know how it's going to work'. So, having that network and understanding that everybody's kind of in the same boat has been helpful for all of our educators to understand that they're not in this alone," Ziegler says. 

And because it's a moving target, he says, one plan won't be enough.

"We have to have a plan if, for some reason a spike or an outbreak would occur, what's it look like for a district to move to a virtual platform?" Ziegler says. "I think having a mixed virtual/face to face platform is something and also a face-to-face platform." 

No matter what they decide, Ziegler says, the districts' leaders know they won't make everyone happy.

"If we open with some sort of restrictions there'll be people upset that it's not back to normal," Ziegler says. "If we don't open with restrictions there will be people upset that we don't have restrictions."

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