SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – 26% of SPS students will go fully virtual this coming fall. The rest selected the option of two days in class a week, three days virtual.
The deadline for families to decide a learning plan for their students was on July 31, and the results showed that just over 1/4th of students will learn from home this fall.
Chief Communications Officer Stephen Hall says that almost all families responded by that time, and the rest they followed up with individually.
“What our initial results indicate, about of our 18,000 students have selected the in-person hybrid model – and then about 6,400 of our students selected the 100% virtual option,” Hall says.
He says that ratio is about what they expected, as it is consistent with what some peer school districts across the country are seeing that are of similar size.
Hall explains the benefit of getting families to commit more than 3 weeks before the August 24 start date for SPS.
“What that allows us to do is make important decisions as a district in terms of staffing and making sure that we have appropriate coverage both for virtual classrooms as well as in-person classrooms,” says Hall.
KOLR10 spoke to a couple of students who will be entering high school this fall. Aiden Graham will be a freshman and says his parents let him choose. He chose to be back in a classroom for two days a week.
“Just doing online school I probably wouldn’t get a lot done because I’d be distracted by other things, and actually going to school you have to sit there and focus on what you were doing,” Graham says.
He says he is happy to be able to see some friends he hasn’t connected with in awhile.
Another student entering high school is Louise Kasongo, who is one of three children in her family. She says her parents also gave her the choice of what she wanted to do.
“We picked going to school for two days because it’s stressful doing online classes, and to keep staring at the computers and stuff, I get tired quickly,” Kasongo says.
She too, is excited to see her friends and says that learning only at home would be boring.
The decisions made by families are locked-in for the entire semester, and Hall says the hope is to add more days after the first quarter for those who chose the hybrid plan.
“It will be driven by the health data and exposure to COVID here in Springfield,” Hall says.
The Springfield Public School district says they are working closely with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to decide on steps going forward.