District to close for the remainder of this week
Last week, we shared with you that the COVID-19 surge in Springfield is having a negative impact on our staffing levels at schools. Today, we have continued to see the number of both staff and student absences increase dramatically. Over the last week alone, SPS has documented 863 cases of COVID-19, impacting 661 students and 202 staff. In addition, this has led to challenges in recruiting available substitutes.
At this time, the best option to address staffing shortages and help limit further spread of COVID-19 is to temporarily close our schools and district offices beginning tomorrow - Wednesday, Jan. 19. We hope that by Monday, Jan. 24, we will be able to return to our normal operations; however, we will continue to monitor conditions and keep you updated if there is a need to extend our temporary closure. In the meantime, all in-person and live virtual instruction are canceled for the remainder of this week.
Please note the following:
- While district facilities are closed this week, all SPS sites will undergo a thorough cleaning.
- The district’s centralized testing location will remain open, but COVID-19 testing will be limited to symptomatic SPS staff until further notice. This will allow SPS to accommodate the demand for appointments with the available inventory of test kits. For other testing opportunities, visit this website.
- Grab-and-go meals will be available for students throughout the temporary closure and sign-up is required. Five days of meals will be available for pick-up on Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 4 to 5 p.m. at select sites. To sign up for meals and learn more about pick up, use this form. Check your email for confirmation of Grab and Go Meals and pickup instructions. Note: If you are currently enrolled in virtual learning and already receive grab-and-go meals, additional sign up is not required.
- If the current staffing shortages are not improved by Monday, the district will provide an update, which may include an extension of the temporary closure or a transition to virtual learning.
We understand that this change creates a disruption for families and have taken every measure available to avoid this step; however, we are currently unable to continue providing appropriate staffing in our schools. In consultation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, we determined that this was the best approach for protecting the health and well-being of all those we serve.
SPS encourages you to practice social distancing by limiting public interactions, wear a mask while in public settings, monitor symptoms daily, schedule a test if you’re symptomatic, and if you have not already done so, get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.
We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we continue adapting to the difficult circumstances created by the ongoing pandemic.