Columbia Public Schools Offering Back To School Choice

Columbia Public Schools plans to offer the choice of traditional in-person learning or online learning in the fall.

The district said on Monday night all elementary and secondary in-person teachers will also prepare for online learning, in case schools have to close again because of COVID-19 concerns.

CPS instructors will also teach the students that choose to learn online, using curriculum from the University of Missouri. Superintendent Peter Stiepleman says remote learning will look different than the spring, which mostly just focused on review and enrichment.

“Students will have their teacher. They’ll have assignments. They’ll have grades. They’ll have regular check-ins. They’ll have assessments. It is distinctly different from where we were in the spring.”

Families in the district will get more information on June 22. They’ll also receive a questionnaire asking them to choose whether their students will learn in-person or online. Those that choose online will have to stay with that option for the whole semester. Those that go the in-person route will have designated times where they can switch to online.

“We’re really trying to be incredibly flexible and provide lots of options for families,” Stiepleman says. “We recognize there are some children with underlying health conditions and so they wouldn’t want to come to school, and so we’ll need to work through that.”

CPS says it will continue following guidance from the local health department. Right now, Boone County’s reopening plan changes in August from mandatory social distancing to recommended social distancing.

The district sent out a survey asking parents and guardians for input on the fall semester. Stiepleman says they got back thousands of comments, and 200,000 ratings of those comments.

“What became abundantly clear was our community wanted choice. They wanted to be in, but they also wanted the option to be out if that was needed. So that’s what we’ve provided.”

Dr. Stiepleman joined Wake Up Columbia on 93.9FM Tuesday:

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