Missouri school districts will be allowed to have students attend every other day and learn remotely on alternating days, helping schools avoid fund penalties related to attendance.
The State Board of Education passed two emergency rules Tuesday establishing hybrid instructions models for districts that want them, paving the way for districts to reopen schools, according to KCUR-FM.
Deputy Education Commissioner Kari Monsees said the new rules will allow schools to build on the contingency plans they already have for snow days and other short-term school closures.
School districts can either have students attend class every other day or have one group of students attend in the morning and another in the afternoon. By dividing students into two groups to attend class on alternating days and times, it will also help schools maintain adequate social distancing on buses.
Even with students wearing masks, pediatricians recommend avoiding filling school buses beyond half-capacity.
Under the new rules, students will need to physically be in school at least two days a week and attendance will only be counted on days when students are scheduled to attend school for in-person instruction.
The emergency rule will also allow remote instruction if schools or districts have to close because of coronavirus spread in their community, or if a group of students needs to isolate for 14 days.
Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said that even though Missouri has allocated $10 million from the CARES Act to create assessments to make up for COVID-19 learning losses, it will be up to local communities to put the pressure on school boards to create rigorous, remote learning opportunities for students.