SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Students in the Springfield Public Schools (SPS) District will have the option of doubling the amount of time they spend in the classroom.
SPS says it’s starting to expand this second quarter’s in-person learning, beginning with a phased-in approach. Some students were optimistic about the schedule change.
“It’s pretty cool because I’ll get to see my friends,” said Buzz Zweerink, a seventh grader.
“I get to see my teacher more now because I only got to see her two days a week,” said Arabella Cornett, a fourth grader.
“I feel really excited,” said Kadence Gregory, a fourth grader. “I get to see more of my friends and more people to play with at recess.”
The students believe it’s a bit easier to learn in person.
“You never know if something bad’s going to happen, you’re getting frustrated, teachers come to help you,” said Gregory.
“It’s hard to focus at home,” said Tucker Zweerink, a sophomore. “All by yourself. You don’t have any peers to motivate you.”
Now that the students are going back to school more, they say they will be more careful.
“I feel great except a bit not that good because it’s still more chance of kids getting the corona. With more teachers getting it,” said Cornett.
“We have to take the old people in the matter,” said Buzz. “Going to sanitize after school too.”
High schoolers will remain in school only two days a week.
“What we are seeing is there is a higher prevalence in grades nine to 12,” said Stephen Hall, chief communications officer at SPS. “Due to the very nature of secondary students going to socialize, interact, number of activities and other things.”
“I can see why they’re doing it,” said Tucker. “It’s really clustered in there, even with only two days a week. There’s a lot of people.”
Hall says students have to remain in the in-person or virtual learning option selected from the beginning of the semester.
“It’s difficult to restaff the district when we have large numbers of students changing from one option to the next,” said Hall. “I want to communicate our gratefulness, thankfulness to the community. To our staff, our teachers, our students, parents and others, who continue to be very flexible and show grace during these difficult times.”
At the end of the semester, students will have the opportunity to make a new selection for the second semester. The district will be communicating with parents in November to let them know what the learning options will be.