Most South County school districts are in person four or five days

Nearly all districts in class again for four or five days

Most+South+County+school+districts+are+in+person+four+or+five+days

After starting the school year mostly virtual, most South County school districts are now back in school in person for four or five days a week.

All students in the Mehlville School District will return to five days of in-person learning in April after an assist from a pharmacy owner alumnus to get the district’s teachers vaccinated. The district is holding two vaccine clinics for all district teachers and staff who want a COVID-19 vaccine, with doses provided by an alumnus, Dr. Tyler Taylor of St. Louis Hills Pharmacy in South City. The second dose will be administered Friday, April 16, a day switched to virtual learning for all students to accommodate teachers going to their appointments.

Lindbergh High School has been attending four days a week with one virtual day since Feb. 9, and Truman and Sperreng middle schools have been in person for four days a week since Feb. 2.

All the schools in the Hancock Place School District have been attending five days in person for the entire year, since schools are large enough and enrollment small enough that students have been able to socially distance.

The Bayless School District has not yet responded to The Call’s request for information.

Since most Mehlville teachers will be vaccinated after the clinics, the district will return to five days a week of in-person learning for every student except those who chose to enroll in the Mehlville@Home all-virtual learning academy.

Mehlville elementary school students are already attending five days a week in person, but middle schools and high schools will also make the jump back inside school buildings full-time for the first time since March last year, when the district dismissed for spring break and then switched to virtual learning due to the pandemic.

The four middle schools and two high schools, Oakville and Mehlville, will start back for five days a week April 19. The school year is currently slated to go to the end of May to make up for snow days.

“(The vaccine) will enable us to go fully five days a week in middle school and high school on April 19,” Superintendent Chris Gaines said in a video posted on YouTube. “We’re really, really excited for this news and really thankful we’ve been able to secure this” with the help of Taylor. “We certainly appreciate his help in enabling us to get back to school five days a week K-12. We’re excited about it.”

Oakville and Mehlville high schools started the year all-virtual and returned to buildings part-time for two weeks in October and November, before substitute shortages districtwide forced the district to move high school back to virtual. High schools started back in school part-time at the start of the second semester Jan. 19.

Affton returns to four days in person

Elementary and middle school students in the Affton School District are now attending class in person four days a week instead of rotating two days of hybrid learning as they had since the fall.

The district announced Feb. 17 that kindergarten through eighth grade students at Mesnier Primary, Gotsch Intermediate School and Rogers Middle School would transition to four days of in-person learning a week at the start of the fourth quarter March 16. Students who opted for Affton’s virtual academy, a semester-long, 100-percent virtual learning program, will remain entirely online.

Students in the separate cohorts “Team Purple” and “Team Gold” began 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.

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, 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. Mehlville’s elementary and middle schools are back in school five 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.

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.

Affton 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.

“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.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated from the print edition with the correct date for Mehlville’s second vaccination clinic.