SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Today, high school students in Springfield will make the switch from two days of in-person learning to four.
Each grade will now be going to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a virtual learning and cleaning day.
Natalie Eastin, a Central High School student, says she’s excited to take less classes online, but she’s also nervous. Because of past covid guidelines, there are many students she hasn’t met yet.
Eastin started learning her freshman year with two days of in-person learning and three days of virtual classes.
“If we would’ve been all online, it would’ve been a lot harder,” Eastin said. “Because the three days out of school, it’s still really hard to teach yourself.”
Ashley McGuire, Natalie’s mom, said it’s placed a lot of teaching responsibilities onto her.
McGuire has two other kids – one who goes to Republic, and one who is in the classroom for two days. While she’s at work, McGuire checks how they’re doing on their homework.
“My husband and I tag-team a lot of this, and so he’s online and I’m online, and we’re like ‘Did they do it? What’s being done?’ And we’re at work. We still have jobs. It’s difficult.”
With Eastin now jumping to being at school four days a week rather than two, she thinks it’ll help many students become more social. Eastin was separated from students with last names L through Z due to a covid guideline, but that guideline will be coming to an end.
“It will really help people especially coming out of their shell,” Eastin said.
“I think the stress level at the house is going to reduce,” McGuire said. “I’m not going to be coming home to ‘What did you do?’ It’s going to be ‘How was your day? Let’s have dinner and not freak out about the 75 assignments that we have to do.'”
Chief communications officer for Springfield Public Schools, Stephen Hall, thinks the switch is going to help students in many ways.
“We’re looking forward to seeing our students more and more,” Hall said. “There are many needs of our students – social, emotional needs and others, academic needs that make it really beneficial for us to return to in-person learning as quickly as we are able to do that, and we are committed to doing that in a safe way.”
Hall said each decision is made with the health department’s feedback. SPS will continue to review covid-19 data, and Hall said the goal is to return to five days of in-person learning by the fourth quarter.
That’s still only a possibility – it depends on what the data will show.