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- Updates to Missouri School Reopening and Operating Guidance -

posted Nov 13, 2020, 11:52 AM by Reese St. Clair

On Thursday, Governor Parson, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced a change to the Missouri School Reopening and Operating Guidance, loosening the quarantine rules for students and staff if the school has and enforces a mask mandate. Currently, the BGR-1 policies at our middle and high school allow for us to participate in this update.

 

If a school district mandates that everyone wears masks, and if both the person who tests positive for the virus and their close contacts are wearing masks appropriately during the contact, the close contacts are not required to quarantine. Close contacts must wear masks at all times, self-monitor for symptoms and should quarantine immediately if they develop signs of illness. The person who tests positive is still required to isolate at home.

 

We firmly hope this new guidance encourages mask wearing in schools in other areas of Missouri that haven’t documented cases of in-school transmission of COVID-19. While some counties, including St. Louis County, have decided not to accept the updates from the state level at this time, we in Pike County have.  After a zoom meeting today with our county health department and Pike County area superintendents, since BGMS and BGHS have had a masking procedure in place, we have been given the green light to implement these updated procedures.

 

While we hope these updated guidelines limit the number of students quarantined, this only works if students are wearing their mask correctly when they cannot distance from other students in the classroom, in the hallways during passing periods, or on a school bus.  Please make sure to visit with your students about proper mask wearing, keeping it over the nose AND mouth.  If we have updates to our procedures at our two elementary schools, we will send updated guidance in the coming days directly from the schools.  Additionally, please keep your eyes peeled for ongoing adjustments that may be needed for winter sports communicated by Coach Chance.

 

As you may have seen, our community (really the entire state) is experiencing a bit of an uptick in COVID cases, which is not unexpected this time of year.  This is a good time to remind ourselves to stay diligent in our mitigation strategies and look for opportunity to remind students of the importance of social distancing and active hygiene activities.  Our intension is to stay here and stay open, so our students can thrive.  While we have seen more students returning to the classroom at the end of first quarter, I anticipate even more returning to school for second semester.  We will ask families who are currently learning remotely to send applications for second semester if they are wanting to stay remote for next semester very soon.  However, the team decision has the benefit of knowing how well a student performed first semester if they were remote as a piece of data to assist in consideration of the application.  Be looking for communications from the buildings regarding these applications.

 

Lastly, I have been working on updating our district and individual school information on Niche.com.  Some of you may be aware that when families are exploring places to live, they often look to the internet for information. Our district information is located here: https://www.niche.com/k12/d/bowling-green-r-i-school-district-mo/ and our school pages are linked within.  Much of our school rankings come from testimonials or online reviews.  If you don’t mind, please take a look at the district one and building specific to where your own students attend and consider adding reviews.  We have such a great gem here with great teachers and coaches and program, and the more that know about it, the better! 

 

Thanks for your help with this.

 

Have a restful weekend, and be well.

 

Matthew L. Frederickson, PhD

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