The first day of school for the St. Joseph School District has been delayed by one week to Monday, Aug. 31, as part of a number of re-entry plan changes announced Wednesday.

The district said it is doing this to allow for additional time to accommodate students, a “large” number of whom have elected to attend via the St. Joseph Schools Virtual Academy, according to an online announcement. The last day of school is to remain May 27, 2021. In the event of snow days, remote learning will take place to allow for the rest of the schedule to occur on time, the district said.

The district said it will use the one week delay to carve out additional time for IEP meetings; professional development for elementary staff persons; training on building re-entry guidelines; rearrangement of rooms; adjustments to schedules as necessary; staff “settl(ing) into” buildings; and training for the remote learning program.

In addition, face covering rules will be tightened. Anyone who enters a district facility or uses its transportation service will be required to wear a face covering at all times; this is a step up from the previous “expectation.” One stated exception will allow for removal of face coverings in situations where social distancing can be “clearly maintained for an extended period of time.”

“As a district, we want to protect the health and safety of everyone in our buildings,” the district said in its announcement. “Please talk to your children about the requirement of wearing a mask during the school day. Please plan to send a mask with your child daily, as a limited number of masks will be available at the school buildings.”

For more information, visit the Back to School section of the district website: https://www.sjsd.k12.mo.us/back_to_school.