Dear Pattonville families and staff,
I want to give you an update on two items: second-semester enrollment choices and the COVID-19 situation in our district. First, thanks to our parents and families for helping us plan and prepare by indicating your learning choices for the second semester of this school year. The second semester begins after winter break. For the first semester of this school year, 43% of families chose the Villemade Virtual Academy for 100% online learning and 57% selected in-person learning (phases 1 through 3). For the upcoming second semester, our overall mix will be about 30% virtual and 70% in-person.
Our school administrators are building new master schedules based on parent responses. This work will require the reassignment of some virtual teachers to in-person classrooms. Please know that we will do our absolute best to minimize disruptions to your child’s schedule where possible. We will also work diligently to minimize the number of hybrid classes at the middle and high school levels, where teachers teach virtual and in-person students simultaneously. Due to the complexity in crafting new schedules, changes from in-person to virtual learning will only be allowed in extenuating circumstances moving forward.
As we near the end of the first semester, we are aware that positive cases are increasing in St. Louis County. Some school districts in the region have been forced to close individual buildings or transition to virtual learning due to staffing issues related to quarantines. While future short-term building closures remain a possibility for Pattonville, there are currently no immediate plans to close any schools or transition back to phase 3 (100% virtual learning for all students). We realize the situation can change quickly. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our schools, including the number of positive cases and quarantines among staff and students at any given time.
As you may have heard, Gov. Parson on Nov. 12 announced changes to the state’s K-12 quarantine guidance. Throughout the course of this pandemic, Pattonville has followed the health and safety guidance of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, and we will continue to follow their guidance moving forward. Currently, the county health department requires all close contacts to a student or staff member who tests positive to quarantine for 14 days. A close contact is defined as within 6 feet for 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period. Our process for contact tracing and identifying individuals who must quarantine will not change unless the St. Louis County Department of Public Health revises its guidelines.
To keep our schools open, it will require all of us working together and taking the necessary precautions. Please continue to be diligent about following safety protocols, including mask-wearing, physical distancing and staying home when sick. In addition, please be mindful of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break. Consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your family and friends safe and minimize the spread of illness once classes resume after the break. Precautions and safety measures do make a difference and will give us the best chance of continuing to offer in-person learning. We can’t let our guard down. Thank you for your continued support and assistance as we continue to work together to meet our students’ needs.