Missouri’s public and charter school buildings will remain closed through the end of this school year, Gov. Mike Parson has decided. He made the decision after conferring with several school officials throughout the state, he said Thursday.
Remote learning will continue until the regularly scheduled last day of classes.
Parson said via Twitter: “We are ordering all Missouri public and charter schools to remain closed through the remainder of the academic year with the exceptions of nutrition and child care services that are outlined in our recent health order.”
Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven, speaking with Parson at a news conference Thursday, praised teachers and administrators and asked them to “continue to be creative and innovative and persistent in their pursuit to reach students with some kind of academic learning opportunity.”
She acknowledged the challenges facing students who lack internet access, saying that some teachers were mailing or delivering material to students’ doors. Others, teachers and students alike, “are learning to navigate videoconferencing software to deliver and receive instructions.”
“We cannot applaud these educators enough, as well as our families at home, for stepping up to the plate to make learning a possibility amid this new normal,” she said.
Parson acknowledged the disappointment high schools seniors were feeling as their graduation ceremonies are postponed. His own granddaughter is one of those seniors, he noted.
“Let me assure you of this,” he said to those students. He said officials would work together “To make sure you get the opportunity to walk down that aisle and receive that diploma at some point in the remainder of this year.”
All of the Catholic schools operated by the St. Louis Archdiocese are also sticking with remote learning through their scheduled academic year.
Archbishop Robert Carlson noted in a letter to parishioners on the archdiocese’ website: “As with all decisions related to the COVID-19 crisis, this determination has been made following much consultation with archdiocesan leadership, and local and state officials, as well as deep discernment in prayer.”
“We remain in contact with health officials for guidance in all decisions,” he reassured readers.
Updates and resources from the Archdiocese of St. Louis regarding COVID-19, including stories from the St. Louis Review, can be found at archstl.org/coronavirus.