Some local elementary and middle school students who have been studying for the summer session will move to online learning after COVID-19 cases were reported.
As of Friday, the St. Joseph School District has transitioned students at Robidoux and Pershing schools to entirely online learning, in the same fashion as it occasionally did during the previous school year. The decision is in effect for the remainder of summer school, which is set to end on July 1.
According to Gabe Edgar, the district's assistant superintendent, all other summer school locations will remain in-person. As was previously the case, all high school students who are enrolled in summer school will continue to study online only.
Edgar explained that the decision owes to a certain number of COVID-19 cases reported and mandatory quarantine protocol that is put in place for every "confirmed contact" of an infected person.
"We just took a precautionary measure," Edgar said. "Since we have (the remote learning system), it really doesn't make sense to leave those kids in there, potentially at risk."
Edgar added the decision won't affect key aspects of summer school, such as the $100 gift card that is on offer for exceptional attendance. This will now just be tracked, where applicable, via the remote learning system, which will function exactly as it did last year.
COVID-19 remains a public health concern in Buchanan County and in much of the rest of Missouri. According to data published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, about 1 in 5, or 20.6%, of Buchanan County eligible residents have received the vaccine. A total of 37% of all eligible Missourians have received the shot.
The vaccine is generally available to all people 12 and older. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any vaccine for younger persons, which has been a cause for increased precautions regarding COVID-19 in an elementary school environment.