2020-2021 School Year Update

Dear WGSD Family,

Over the past five months, our team has been working with much thought and intention to determine how we can best care for and support our students and staff as we return to school on Monday, August 24, 2020. We’ve solicited feedback from stakeholders and received a steady stream of consultation from district staff, medical professionals and experts, and regional school districts and organizations.  In addition, we’ve read quite a bit of research and studies related to COVID-19 and how other schools, organizations, and businesses have responded, and in many cases, remained open.

While July 20 was announced as the day every district’s plans for the start of school would be revealed, like many districts, we don’t feel it is wise to be definitive at this point for a variety of reasons. First, given the dynamic nature of COVID-19, including the recent spike in cases, we’d like to delay the decision a bit longer.  While we know the virus isn’t going away any time soon, we’ll have a better idea of its status within our community and region, and we can adjust our plans based on the current information from health officials and the latest orders or regulations from governing bodies such as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and St. Louis County Government.  

Next, we’d also like your thoughts related to the draft plans we created.  While we received quite a bit of preliminary feedback with our first round of surveys in early June, we know that you may be in a different spot today than you were then based on your experiences, what you’ve learned, and/or the current status of COVID-19. Tomorrow, our School Reopening Plan will be sent to you along with a survey for you to share feedback regarding our draft plans.  You’ll have through Sunday, July 26 to respond to the survey.  In addition to feedback related to the draft plan, the survey will also provide families with the opportunity to communicate whether or not their children will participate in a virtual, online program (K-12 WGSD Virtual Program) regardless of what other choice the district might offer. So that we may begin preparing to staff the WGSD Virtual Program, it’s critically important for you to complete the survey and let us know if you’d like to participate in the WGSD Virtual Program.  

Finally, given the current spike in cases, St. Louis County Department of Health doesn’t think it’s wise for us to finalize our plans at this time.

Furthermore, we’ve scheduled some times for you to directly ask questions of the district leadership team regarding the return to school plans. Please click on the following Zoom link to participate in one of the following sessions: https://zoom.us/j/91832046555

Thursday, July 23 from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Thursday, July 23 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 23 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

On Thursday, July 23 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., the district will provide an opportunity for an in-person meeting question and answer session with district administrators on the bleachers at Moss Field.  Face coverings and social distancing are required. In the event of inclement weather, the session will be held on Zoom at the following link: https://zoom.us/j/91832046555

Please trust that we seek the same certainty most of you do as to what school will look like. In addition to helping many make plans for child-care, it would also really help our staff to know in what format(s) they’ll be working with students and one another.  We know this would help you as well. Our goal at this point, is to declare how we will open schools on July 29, 2020.

Here is a brief description of the draft educational programming that will be presented to the WGSD Board of Education this evening at 7:00 p.m.: 

District Responsive Learning: Throughout the year, the district will determine which of the following formats PreK-12 students will learn from based on a variety of factors such as community transmission of COVID-19, number of cases within the school, change in science (ex: vaccine) and our ability to provide the staffing needed.  Formats could vary by grade level. The three formats are: 

  • In-person learning, 5 days per week (4 days for some preschool classes)
  • *Hybrid (combination of in-person learning + virtual learning) 
  • *Virtual learning

*We are currently working to determine if we can provide daily, in-person academic and social-emotional support for identified students and families within the District’s Responsive Learning Plan’s hybrid and virtual formats (exs: students receiving IEP services and families in need of supervision for school-age district students).

WGSD Virtual Program – Parents/Caregivers select to have their child(ren) participate in full-time online distance learning from home, for a defined period of time (ex: semester).  This program will feature live, direct instruction from K-12 teachers throughout each day. Your child’s teacher may not necessarily be a teacher from your home school. 

For an overview of the different formats within the District Responsive Learning Plan and the WGSD Virtual Program, click here

To view tonight’s board meeting at 7:00 p.m., please click here.

Given the relationship between what we’re able to provide district students in terms of an educational experience and the number of cases of COVID-19 in our community and region, we’re grateful for anything you and your family can do to help minimize transmission of COVID-19 in our communities and region, such as wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing in line with applicable health guidelines.  Your patience, understanding and support are greatly appreciated as we continue to navigate this challenging time in pursuit of the best educational experience for our children and do all that we can to keep everyone safe and healthy. Thank you!  

With care,