Mehlville, Oakville highs switch to all-virtual

Student objects to all-virtual learning, wants it in person


Students graduate from Oakville High School in a socially distanced in-person graduation last July.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

Mehlville and Oakville high school students were set to return to all-virtual learning Monday, Nov. 16, the Mehlville School District announced Nov. 12 in an email to parents. Superintendent Chris Gaines said the decision was made as St. Louis coronavirus cases rise to the highest levels seen so far in the pandemic, especially in Oakville and its surrounding ZIP codes, including Concord and Arnold.

Gaines said the district tentatively plans to keep high school students all-virtual until Jan. 5, when they could return part-time to buildings in the hybrid/blended model. For now, lower grade levels will stay in the hybrid/blended model that keeps them in school buildings two days a week and in virtual learning for other days.

High schoolers at MHS and OHS just switched to in person Oct. 27 after starting the school year all-virtual. They had not attended the high schools in person since March when schools initially shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students were already committed to attending all-virtual school through the new virtual learning academy Mehlville@Home.

Lindbergh Schools Chief Communications Officer Beth Johnston said Nov. 12 that there are no current plans for Lindbergh High School to return to all-virtual, but Lindbergh Superintendent Tony Lake has said that plans could change at any time throughout the school year.

Oakville, Arnold and Concord/Mehlville have been repeatedly identified in November as the ZIP codes with the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis region. The St. Louis region broke all records for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations last week.

Taking high school virtual could keep younger students in school in person, because resources can be devoted to elementary and middle schools instead of high school. Gaines said the district is “struggling with workforce shortages.”

Oakville High junior Faith Burchett told the school board Nov. 12 she prefers in-person learning: “In virtual learning, kids sort of lose that education and it’s very scary. I feel lost. I feel as though I’m losing my high productivity level. I also think education should be taught in person and not on a screen. Thank you.”