The Pleasant Hill R-3 School District (PHSD) recently emailed information to all of the parents in the schools to inform them of how the public school in Pleasant Hill will be conducting classwork as they come back to school in August 2020. According to the forward of one of the documents, the district stated,
The entire world is seeking ways to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Pleasant Hill R-III School District is working to provide an environment, which is as safe as possible, for the students, staff and our community. Administrators have spent the past few months in dozens of meetings with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Missouri Association of School Administrators, the Missouri Association of Pupil Transportation, Cass County Health Officials, the Missouri Chapter of the Association of Pediatric Physicians, and many other groups to determine the best practices to provide students with a safe and equitable education.
We would also like to thank our parents, faculty, and staff for providing us with feedback over the past two months including questions and concerns so we can address them in advance and take them into consideration as we plan for the fall. We had more than 68% of our students represented when we sent surveys to our parents. We also appreciate the hard work of our task force that consisted of administrators, board members, staff, and parents.
During this unprecedented time, it is our responsibility to take proper precautions to open safely and to provide the safest form of in-person instruction. PHSD believes the in-person hybrid format allows for the greatest potential for daily in-person instruction and minimizes the risk for potential all-district closure. However, it is our goal to eventually pivot to a more traditional schedule and have students back in buildings full-time.
Based on the document, the schools will conduct classes in two ways; In-Person Hybrid Format and Online Format (Virtual/Distance Learning). The document also addresses the number of students and staff requirements and building traffic guidelines and symptom screening along with personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene measures. The schools are aiming to have cleaning measures and taking measures to be able to educate the children of Pleasant Hill and keep the virus from spreading. The document is detailed with an abundance of information for the parents in the district.
On a very colorful second document, there is a list that gives an overview of precautions. This list read as follows: PHSD will avoid large group gatherings such as assemblies, field trips, etc. Physical Distancing Recommendations- Maintain 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people. Including physical distancing outside-includes recess. In the event physical distancing is not possible, masks will be worn, increased hand-washing for staff and students, increased sanitation efforts, student and staff use of water bottles in lieu of public water fountains, temperature screenings for staff members, additional thermometers, hand sanitizer, PPE will be available, and individual school supplies will be used.
According to the Superintendent, Steve Myers, there is about twenty-five percent poverty in the school district. He said, “Between March 23rd and June 30th the schools gave out over fifty thousand meals free of charge to students in our community” Many of these meals were delivered by school buses. There will be children who, for several reasons, will need to be on site. For some of these children, the school is where they are provided a meal they would not have otherwise have. Myers expressed the schools desire to reach all the children with the best education and opportunities in their power to offer.
The two other documents lay out the learning options in detail. Virtual and Distance Instruction provides students with a learning experience focusing on new material at their grade level. This is different from the “crisis learning” that took place in the spring. The Hybrid Learning Model allows teachers to provide in-person instruction each day while practicing physical distancing by decreasing the number of students in attendance each session. PHSD believes this model allows for the greatest potential for daily in-person instruction and minimizes the risk for a potential all-district closure.