Back To Five Days A Week

The Board of Education votes to switch to Level 1: In-Person learning for second quarter


Ianne Salvosa

The WSD School Board voted and approved moving to level 1, where students are able to attend school five days a week. All Option 1 students will have to attend school in-person and cannot switch to Option 2, as the Virtual Learning Academy would be understaffed if it were to increase in enrollment.

Ianne Salvosa, Co editor-in-chief of the Ledger magazine

The Wentzville School District Board of Education voted to switch to Level 1: In-person learning starting on Oct. 19 at the board meeting on Sept. 17 in the Liberty High School auditorium. Level 1 allows students who chose Option 1 to attend school in-person five days a week with the appropriate health and safety measures in place. 

“When I signed up to get on this board I promised myself that I would do what the best in power to give these kids, the best education they can possibly get,” Director Daniel Brice said. “I firmly believe that Level 2 is not helping them.” Director Brice made the motion to move to Level 1 at the beginning of second quarter, given that students pre-K to 12 would be required to wear masks. Director Dale Schaper seconded the motion, allowing the board to call for a vote. In a split decision, two board members voted nay and five voted aye. 

Prior to voting for the switch to Level 1, Director Brad Buchanan proposed an amendment to the motion, requiring that two out of four of the COVID-19 metrics be met one week before Oct. 19. However, four board members voted nay and three voted aye, causing the motion to fail.

Members of the Wentzville School District community were able to discuss whether or not the district should remain in Level 2: Blended learning prior to the decision being made. In this public forum portion of the meeting, the public is allowed to sign up to speak for three minutes to share their thoughts and opinions on matters relating to the district.

Speakers present to the Board of Education on Sept. 17. (Ianne Salvosa)

“The one thing we do know is that these kids have to be educated,” a WSD parent said. “But what we do know what’s effective is being in the classroom.”

Wanting to return to school full-time was not an uncommon opinion, and was shared by students who attended the meeting as well. A Holt High School sophomore shared his struggles with the blended learning model.

“Every day I feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. Oftentimes the worry of keeping up with schoolwork prevents me sleeping,” he said. 

However, other meeting attendees and board members expressed their desire to remain in the hybrid model. Multiple school nurses spoke at the public forum, describing their first-hand encounters with COVID-19 in schools.

Kathy Warren, Wentzville Middle School nurse, shared her experience with the Ebola and H1N1 virus prior to dealing with the current pandemic.

“We all want students back in our buildings. However, COVID is here,” Warren said. “We will not know the extent of this for years to come.” In regards to the desire to switch to Level 1, Warren sees it as a threat to the health of the students.

“There’s no way we could have students social distance in the classroom,” Warren said. “At full capacity, contact tracing will be delayed. It will be ineffective, thus spreading the disease.”

While the feelings across the district are split, students will have to face another transition into a different form of learning. All Option 1 students will have to attend school in-person and cannot switch to Option 2, as the Virtual Learning Academy would be understaffed if it were to increase in enrollment. But for the remainder of the year, the district will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 in St. Charles County and adapt the levels accordingly in the best interest of the students. 

For more information:

September 17, 2020 Board of Education meeting

COVID-19 Metrics

St. Charles County Department of Public Health School District Dashboard