COLUMBIA Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia Public Schools is giving parents another chance to change their choice for in-class or hybrid learning before the school year starts next month.
In an email to parents from CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said this is the final opportunity for parents to make changes to their children's fall enrollment choice of in-person or online learning.
The reopening of the CPS questionnaire comes after a summer surge in cases that district leaders say has changed the situation since the last survey was given.
"What is different is that March and April and May and June revealed really promising data for our community …. and July was a very different story," CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman said during a Tuesday news conference.
"And as July continued to march along we started to see very much increased rates and it began to worry us," Stiepleman said.
Stiepleman said the school district is using a model that will allow the district to make decisions on in-person classes that are informed by data and how much the novel coronavirus is spreading.
Fewer than 10 new cases per 10,000 people over a two week period in Columbia's zip codes would allow a return to five-day-a-week in school learning. If cases reach 10 to 49 per 10,000 people the district will adopt a hybrid model, and anything over 50 cases will be purely online.
By Aug. 24, the district will decide on what mode of in-person instruction, five-day or hybrid, will be implemented to start the school year.
Virtual and online learning models will not be affected by the addition of the hybrid model, Baumstark said in an email.
A Columbia parent and teacher, Shawn Beatty, said some parents are having to make the decision to risk their children's mental health from isolation or risk physical illness because of COVID-19.
"There really is no good choice here," he said.
Beatty said if the hybrid model allows for social distancing then by that measure, it will be safer. However, he said there are still a host of problems such as daycare and food security when students aren't in school. Testing also becomes a challenge, he said.
If parents are not changing their choice of online or in-person, they do not need to resubmit the questionnaire. However, if parents want to change their mind the new submission will override the previous decision.
The questionnaire is available through the CPS Families Portal until midnight Sunday.
Check back for updates on this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6.