Affton elementary and middle schools will expand to four days in person in March

Affton+School+District+students+Jayson+and+Connor+try+out+the+paper+crimpers+in+the+Gotsch+Art+Studio+in+February+2021.+

Affton School District students Jayson and Connor try out the paper crimpers in the Gotsch Art Studio in February 2021.

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

Elementary and middle school students in the Affton School District will soon begin attending class in person four days a week instead of the current rotating two days of hybrid learning.

The district announced Feb. 17 that kindergarten through eighth grade students at Mesnier Primary, Gotsch Intermediate School and Rogers Middle School will transition to four days of in-person learning a week at the start of the fourth quarter Tuesday, March 16.

Students who opted for Affton’s virtual academy, a semester-long, 100-percent virtual learning program, will remain virtual.

Starting Tuesday, March 16, students in the separate cohorts “Team Purple” and “Team Gold” will begin attending school in person Tuesday through Friday each week together. Mondays will remain a virtual learning day for all students.

Previously, each team had been attending on-site learning separately two days a week, supplemented by three days of virtual learning.

All students and staff will continue to be required to wear masks while on campus and any district transportation. Schools will continue to implement five key mitigation strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, including masks, social distancing as best as possible, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, disinfection and contact tracing in collaboration with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.   

Affton High School students will remain in the blended learning model with two days of on-campus learning in separate cohorts.

The district said it “intentionally made learning schedule decisions well in advance of each quarter to allow staff and families time to plan and prepare.”

“We want to ensure a high degree of confidence that any changes to learning schedule could be sustained even as community conditions may change due to the pandemic,” the district said in a news release.

The Affton School District was the first district in South County to make the decision last summer to start the school year virtually. With its decision to bring more students back March 16, it joins other South County districts like Mehlville and Lindbergh that currently have elementary through middle school students attending in-person classes at least four days a week. Lindbergh also currently has high school students attending in person four days a week, while Mehlville’s high schools remain in a hybrid/blended learning model.

“Please keep in mind that while this transition decision has been announced and an implementation date has been set, Affton School District will closely monitor conditions in our schools and community and will adjust if necessary,” the district said. “As always, thank you for your patience and continued assistance as we work together to support our students and their learning.”