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Springfield Public Schools is increasing in-person classes to four days per week for some students.
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Springfield Public Schools is increasing in-person classes to four days per week for some students.

SPS adjusts in-person learning schedule

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Springfield Public Schools on Wednesday announced an adjustment to its in-person learning schedule.

Under the revised plan, pre-kindergarten through second grade students are scheduled to return to in-person classes four days a week starting Nov. 2, followed by third through eighth graders starting Nov. 9, according to a news release. Wednesdays would remain a virtual learning day, and no changes are slated this semester for ninth through 12th graders due to a higher rate of COVID-19 cases among high schools.

SPS Superintendent John Jungmann said the district consulted with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department on the decision, including an in-depth look at COVID-19 cases among students and teachers since the fall semester started.

"What it primarily told us is transmission is very low in schools and that has allowed us to keep our campuses open and it has allowed us to safely operate in-person opportunities," Jungmann said in an interview with Springfield Business Journal. "And we believe that there are a number of factors of both academic and social that we need to be better serving our students in.

"With the current conditions of transmission, adding instructional days is the next right thing to do."

SPS data show 75% of students are attending school in-person two days per week. Since Aug. 24, the district has recorded around 200 cases of COVID-19, resulting in more than 1,200 students and staff members being quarantined at various times, according to district officials.

"That is significantly lower than the community rate, which means that when we open schools, they did not become spreader locations," Jungmann said. "That's what the Health Department, I believe, really referred to as a reason that we could expand days."

Students who are learning through the all-virtual schedule would continue to do so throughout the remainder of the semester, according to the release.

In August, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri denied a request for a temporary restraining order in the lawsuit filed against SPS' reopening plan, according to past reporting. The suit sought to block the mix of in-person and virtual learning.

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