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Columbia Public Schools

Rally stressing safe return planned before Columbia Board of Education meeting


Some Columbia residents have organized a rally they hope will show support for Columbia Public Schools teachers, staff, students and community members who want more stringent safety protocols for kids in classrooms.

A group dubbed CoMo for a Safe Return to School is holding a rally before Monday's school board meeting and is asking for the district to consider "necessary actions" for a safe return to school.

Those actions include enforcement of social distancing, mandatory masking policies, providing proper air purification in classrooms and virtual school being made available to anyone requesting it.

The discussions come as the 14-day COVID-19 case rate in the district reached 81.3 Sunday and seven schools have returned to online learning temporarily. Any rate at or above 50 suggests a switch to all virtual learning. However, the district also uses several other metrics to determine its method of learning.

The rally is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. outside the Aslin Administration Building, just before the Columbia Board of Education meeting, which is expected to start at 6:30 p.m.

A return of high school and middle school students to classrooms is on the agenda for Monday's school board meeting. CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman said in an ABC 17 News interview Monday morning that he plans to recommend students not return amid the rising number of cases locally.

Boone County has seen five straight days of cases in the double digits, racking up 840 new COVID-19 cases during that span. More than 500 of those cases came within three days.

Board members asked Stiepleman to create the recommendations during an Oct. 22 meeting. Middle school students would return Nov. 30 and high school students on Dec. 7 under the plan that will come before the board Monday.

As of Sunday, 134 CPS staff members were on leave due to COVID-19 and 474 students are either in isolation or quarantine.

Boone / Columbia / Coronavirus / Education / K-12 education / News / Top Stories
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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. He also reports in the field on Mondays and Tuesdays during the 5 and 6 a.m. newscasts.
Zach began working at ABC 17 in June 2019 after graduating from California State University Channel Islands with a bachelor’s degree in communication.


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