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Update on learning plan for week of Jan. 24

After closing the district this week due to the pandemic’s negative impact on staffing, we have continued to monitor conditions in our schools and the community. While it was our hope that we could return to in-person classes next week, that will not be possible. There are still a rising number of COVID cases within SPS, with 20 percent of our workforce reporting a necessary absence. As a result, SPS will not have the staffing required to provide in-person learning next week. 

While some teachers and support staff are not yet able to return to the classroom due to a COVID illness or exposure, some are able to provide virtual instruction from home. Therefore, SPS will utilize Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) and provide virtual learning next week as follows:

  • Students will not be in school Monday, Jan. 24. All in-person and live virtual instruction are canceled for students on Monday. This day will be used as a training day for SPS teachers to prepare delivery of virtual instruction to all students beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 25. 
  • Beginning Tuesday, Jan 25, all preK-12 students will participate in virtual learning from home with instruction guided by SPS teachers. Virtual learning will continue through Friday, Jan. 28.

Learning Support and Other Resources
Please review these important instructions and tips that will support you and your child while participating in virtual instruction from Jan. 25 through Jan. 28.

  1. Each day, students will be expected to log in during their scheduled class time, engage and participate in learning. Use these Canvas resources to support learning. 
  2. Please review this tip sheet for helpful information about logging in and accessing your child’s instructional resources. 
  3. Live technical support will be available to you Monday through Friday. Contact the IT Help Desk between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 417-523-HELP or the Launch Help Desk from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 417-523-0417. You may also email questions to support@fueledbylaunch.com. Students may also access support via the Chat option in their Canvas course.
  4. Printed resources will be available for students in Kindergarten through Grade 2 who may not be able to participate in virtual learning. Please contact your child’s school to request a packet.
  5. Students who need a device or hotspot may pick them up at their school on Monday, Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  6. Grab and go meals will be available to pick up, but you must sign up by 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 24. Meals will be available for pick-up on Monday and Thursday at select sites. To sign up for meals and learn more about pick up, use this form. Note: If you child is currently enrolled in virtual learning and already receives grab-and-go meals, additional sign up is not required.

Impact of the Surge on SPS
During a briefing this week, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department projected that the peak of the current surge has not yet arrived and is not expected for at least two more weeks. Through community testing sites and in our own SPS centralized testing center, more than 50 percent of symptomatic individuals are testing positive. The health department estimates that 1 in 25 people in our community are now infectious.

SPS has documented 1,642 cases of COVID-19 across our system from January 4 through January 18. This includes 1,237 students and 405 staff. To provide further perspective, Tuesday’s single-day total is three times higher than any previous 7-day period of the pandemic. As our community continues to see a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, we encourage you to help reduce the spread by practicing social distancing, limiting public interactions, wearing a mask while in public settings, monitoring symptoms daily, scheduling a test if you’re symptomatic, and, if you have not already done so, getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.

Next Steps
SPS administration has requested that the Board of Education hold a special meeting on Friday, January 28, to consider implementation of a Public Health Order to require mask intervention for all staff and students from January 31 through February 18. The Board is currently considering this request. 

We hope to be able to return to normal in-person instruction as soon as possible. In the meantime, please understand that these decisions are made following careful deliberation and consultation with numerous community partners and health agencies.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we respond to this rapidly evolving situation.