November 27, 2022

BY MATT PIKE

St. Joseph Post

Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Buchanan County, two St. Joseph schools were forced to finish summer school online.

Assistant Superintendent Gabe Edgar of the St. Joseph School District says the move to online for Robidoux and Pershing elementary and middle schools was purely “precautionary”.

“We see a target for the amount of absent students that we need to look at in the regular school year and also for summer school and they got to one of those target numbers as far as the number of students that were gone,” Edgar says. “So, we took a precautionary measure to just shut those down.”

Edgar says the move to virtual learning for both schools will still allow teachers to work and students to learn.

“Our summer school program is actually a contracted service which actually provides students incentives for attendance and those types of things so we just put them on virtual,” Edgar says, “and they can still earn their incentives, the teachers are still working, and kids are still learning.”

St. Joseph School District leadership was hopeful that they’d be able to make it through summer with in-person learning.

Edgar says in March, the outlook of completing in-person learning was bright and a return to normalcy seemed evident.

“The outlook was great from the month of March on, especially within the school district, there was very little happening if anything at all,” Edgar said. “So, we were very optimistic that we were going to make it through summer school, and make it into the fall with some normalcy.”

Edgar says they have a couple of months between the end of summer school and the fall semester, but they are still taking things seriously.

“We are in constant contact with Mosaic Life Care, constant contact with the city of St. Joseph, constant contact with the county, (superintendent) Dr. Doug Van Zyl has weekly calls with them to kind of discuss what we’re looking at,” Edgar said. “So, it’s not anything that we’re taking lightly, we will have a plan to enter the school year.”

Since last Monday, there have been 166 new cases of COVID-19 in Buchanan County, including 44 on Tuesday alone. In Buchanan County, just 18.8 percent of residents have completed vaccination.

Both Robidoux and Pershing will continue to hold summer school virtually through July 1st – when summer school ends.

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