Learning Format Determination

Published: December 2, 2020

Dear STJ Families,

COVID-19 cases and quarantines within each of our buildings have been evaluated by district leadership over the past week. Based on these findings, along with the recommendation of the Phelps-Maries County Health Department, the following conclusions have been made for the remainder of 1st Semester and upon our return in January:  

  • Virtual Learning at the elementary this week was necessary because we did not have enough teachers and substitute teachers to cover many of our classrooms. According to current projections, the majority of our quarantined elementary staff will be able to return to work next week. Unlike the middle school and high school, the elementary’s block schedules and smaller stable contact groups greatly reduces transmission potential throughout the PK-5 classrooms. Based on this information, Lucy Wortham James Elementary students will return to full seated instruction next Monday, December 7. We are hopeful to stay open PK-5 for the remainder of the school year with isolated pockets of closures in specific classrooms due to exposure. We are encouraging interested parents and citizens to consider applying to be a substitute teacher in an effort to avoid a future elementary closure.
  • Hybrid learning has provided more of an opportunity for social distancing within the Middle School and High School buildings. Due to being able to further distance students and staff, this plan has allowed us to quarantine fewer people when exposed. Although our ultimate goal is to return to regular seated learning as soon as possible, the Middle School and High School will remain in the hybrid learning format through 1st Semester. Additionally, per the recommendation of the Health Department, the Middle School and High School will remain in the hybrid learning format until Friday, January 15 (which is two weeks after New Year’s Day). Barring further setbacks due to community and districtwide spread, students in the Middle School and High School will return to full seated instruction on Tuesday, January 19. 

Thank you for your continued support, understanding, and patience as we strive to find a balance between student learning needs and student/staff safety.