The Wentzville School District plans to open in Level 2: Blended Learning
August 11, 2020
As the pandemic persists, the Wentzville School District’s (WSD) reopening plans must follow suit. On Aug. 5, the Board of Education informed the district of the switch to “Level 2: Blending Learning” through a live-streamed meeting. Level 2 refers to a phase of the Option 1 of schooling options for WSD families that plans for students to attend school in an AA/BB model. Students with the last name of the oldest sibling in their household beginning with the letters A-L will attend school in person on Monday and Tuesday. Similarly, students with the last name of the oldest sibling in their household beginning with the letters M-Z will attend school in person on Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, all students will attend school virtually. Allowing movement between in-person, blended, and virtual learning, Option 1 accommodates to the state of the pandemic.
“We are simply in a different place than we were a few weeks ago and it is no longer appropriate to proceed with full in-person school to start the year,” Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain said.
As opposed to full, in-person learning where students attend school five days a week with a seven-class schedule everyday, blended learning uses a block schedule and keeps in-person attendance at 50%, decreasing close contact and increasing the ease of social distancing. The plan is to remain in Level 2 for the first quarter, but there is potential to switch to Level 3: Virtual Learning. The switch to Level 2 comes at no surprise to sophomore Carter Stromlund, who has chosen Option 1 for schooling.
“I kind of knew it was coming because of the recent cases but I would still rather be able to go two days than none,” Stromlund said. While he is grateful for the option to return to school for part of the week, he holds some concern for students refusing to wear masks. The required use of face masks for grades 3-12, as well as all the other preventative measures for Level 1, still apply to blended learning.
For lunch, preventative measures include having students choose their lunch in the morning to be prepared by the cafe staff. High school students will still eat lunch in the cafeteria however all lunch packaging will be disposable. For both students that have chosen Option 1 and Option 2, compliance to these measures are a shared fear. While all students are responsible for their own health safety, within the school they are also responsible for the safety of others. Senior Sophia Whalley remains cautious about the spread of COVID-19. Being immunosuppressed, Whalley has chosen Option 2, virtual schooling. Out of 1,495 total students attending Liberty, 250 have chosen Option 2.
We’re trying to do everything to prevent someone in our house from contracting the disease,” Whalley said. While she feels sad about missing out on the typical senior year activities, her family is considering renting a house out-of-state to continue their work and schooling for a change of pace— an anticipated part of the start of school for Stromlund.
“I’m just hoping to get back in the swing of things instead of being home all the time, being able to do stuff will be a nice change,” Stromlund said.
As the transition to blended learning appeases some concerns while creating new ones, Dr. Cain assures WSD families that those concerns do not go unnoticed.
“We understand that any change presents new challenges for you as parents and we don’t take that lightly,” Dr. Cain said. “We are thinking of each of you as we work our way through these difficult decisions and we appreciate your continued patience and flexibility.”
On that note, while the responsibility of deciding the type of schooling lies on the school district, Dr. Cain also stresses the importance of the community’s responsibilities.
“Take care of yourself, your family, and your neighbors,” Dr. Cain said. “Together, we will work to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community.”