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DCR1 Responds to COVID-19 Concerns

Monday, March 16, as 1,600 students in the Dallas County School District returned to classes following Spring Break, school district superintendent, Dr. Tim Ryan quickly made the decision to cancel classes through Friday, March 27 in response to the COVID-19 concerns. The Dallas County School District family has no higher priority than the safety of its students, staff and community. As local, national, and international communities continued to assess the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Dallas County School District received ongoing guidance from the local and state health departments, the State Department of Education, and the CDC. In addition, the President announced a prohibition of gatherings of 10 or more people.  District administrators and directors began working together to create a plan to meet for the many needs of its students as school would be dismissed for two weeks.

Teachers began coordinating efforts to provide supplemental educational opportunities, including virtual learning, for their high school students and creating instructional resources via an Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) folders/packets for students in grades PK-8. The folders contained work to continue learning on days students are unable to attend classes. Teachers and staff spent Tuesday and Wednesday preparing learning packets and organizing them for delivery or parent pick up.

Food service and transportation employees also began planning how they could provide meals to students, as well as deliver the meals and supplemental instructional materials to students. The food service employees began making and packing two breakfasts and lunches for students. Woods, Walmart, and Dollar General donated shopping bags for the packaging of the meals. School organizations and staff members brought in coolers to keep milk cold during deliveries.

The first delivery took place Thursday, March 19. Approximately, 125 bus drivers and staff members participated in the deliveries, meeting parents and students at their bus stops with meals and learning packets. Parent and students who do not ride buses or missed the delivery buses were able to pick up their meals and learning packets at Buffalo High School cafeteria Friday, March 20 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

The district plans to continue to deliver two meals each day on Monday, March 23; Wednesday, March 25; and Friday, March 27. Parents who do not utilize bus service or miss the deliveries can pick up meals Tuesday, March 24 and Thursday, March 26 at the high school cafeteria from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Following Governor Mike Parson’s press conference, Saturday, March 21, the district will observe social distance during the meal deliveries by avoiding “handing” meals to parents and students and setting the meals down for parents and students to pick up. The Governor also announced all Missouri schools would be closed through April 6, 2020. The district will evaluate how it provides meals and education to each student this week and will be sending out additional information.

Delivering the meals and learning packets was such a great school and community collaboration. The entire school district staff was involved in making the deliveries a success, along with parents who met buses at bus stops or picked up their students’ meals and learning packets at the high school.