Summer school looks a bit different this year to Mehlville School District students enrolled in the 2020 session, as continued social distancing efforts to mitigate the spread COVID-19 has forced classes online.
Students in first through 12th grades have the option of completing a virtual summer session in either June or July, with courses that began June 1 for the first session.
Students in elementary and middle school can choose to complete coursework during a two-hour program in the morning or afternoon. High-school students can receive up to two credits in electives or recover up to two credits.
At the May 21 Mehlville Board of Education meeting, Brian Smith, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, told the board about the upcoming summer classes.
“We’re moving toward virtual, small segments, smaller overall hours spent… Because of the virtual nature, we didn’t necessarily want kids to be on a computer all day, so our elementary and our middle school structures have changed a little bit,” Smith told the board at the May meeting, which was conducted over Zoom.
For high-school students, the summer session doesn’t look too different than previous years, since summer school for high-school students had already been completed online.
“Our high school looks very similar to what it has been in years past because it previously has been virtual, so really this process has not changed anything for our high-school folks,” said Smith.
Smith also told the board that he is working with Ann Westbrook, director of early childhood education, to see if the district can resume in-person sessions later in the summer for pre-kindergarten students and students who receive additional services, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech.
“We will continue to look at data and continue to make some decisions based on guidelines that St. Louis County is setting forth to see whether or not that extended school year could potentially be in person,” Smith said. “Therapies are rather difficult to do in a virtual type of setting.”
Currently, the June total enrollment of students in summer sessions is 1,458, Smith told The Call. The July total, tentative pending additional enrollment, is 729. There were more than 2,000 students enrolled in the 2019 session, but it wasn’t directly comparable since those were in-person, all-day classes.
Superintendent Chris Gaines also offered some praise at the May meeting to the curriculum team for the work they’re doing to transition school to virtual and online.
“I’ve got to mention that Brian and his team did not get any sort of spring break, they were working nonstop to kind of get us through this period,” said Gaines. “So big kudos to Brian and the entire curriculum team for all of the work that they were able to accomplish including ongoing work around summer school.”
More information about Mehlville’s summer sessions can be found at https://mehlvilleschooldistrict.com/summer_session.