Returning With a Plan

How going back to school will work

Photo Provided by Ella Brown
Protesters outside Fort Zumwalt North Middle School.

August is approaching, and so is anticipation for the 2020-2021 school year. School supplies are going on sale, and fall sports have begun. Although things seem to be carrying on as normal, cases of COVID-19 among young people are continuing to rise in the St. Charles County area, according to Summer is coming to a close, and the district posted their plan to return to school as safely as possible.

On July 20, at the Fort Zumwalt School District school board meeting, it was announced that high school students will have a choice in their education.

The district allows outsiders to comment at the beginning of their school board meetings to allow for discussion. In addition, some teachers arrived outside of the District Office to raise concern about opening, and Tony Bertram, English Teacher and English Language Arts Department Chair at Fort Zumwalt North High School, spoke on behalf of over 100 Fort Zumwalt teachers who signed a document of questions and concerns on how to return.

“As teachers, we want nothing more than to support our kids,” Bertram said. “COVID-19 affects our entire community…our community members should have been involved [in this decision]. We deserve better, and our kids do, too. My colleagues and I are so eager to return to school but we insist on doing so safely.”

“Anytime a question comes up, we’ll talk to the health department for their advice,” Superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray said. “At this point in time, we have three plans [for students selecting to return to class].”

Option 1

The Fort Zumwalt Return to School plan includes the first option, where students will receive in-person instruction, a hybrid schedule or a fully virtual schedule. Option one holds emphasis on in-person learning but also allows modification if needed. If the district is informed that they must limit students in the building, all students will move to a hybrid schedule or a fully virtual schedule, according to

The school district will remain conscious of social distancing and will require staff and students to wear a mask, according to Masks will be provided to staff who do not bring their own, and a very limited supply of masks will be held for families who do not have them. The district will also perform preventative measures when it comes to sanitization.

Students used to eat in three lunch shifts but will now eat in five. The change is to create social distancing measures for the commons. Lunch will come wrapped and pre-packaged, and all employees will be required to wear gloves and a mask, including the cashiers.

After school activities sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) will continue until further notice. Masks and social distancing will also be required for these activities, according to The high school will close at 6:00 P.M. to allow for cleaning and sanitizing.

Option 2

Option 2 includes fully virtual instruction. 13% of families said they would like their students to attend online instruction rather than returning to face-to-face classes, according to

Students who choose a virtual education should expect it to be completely different from the virtual learning environment this past spring, according to They will attend school with the Launch program. Students who choose Option 2 will not be eligible for MSHSAA sanctioned activities, according to

“The membership asked about what possible flexibility and modifications to by-law restrictions that could be offered. If there is no local, state or national clearance for safe contact with students, then any allowances dealing with summer will be moot,” said MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn, according to

Students and families will have an opportunity to select their preferred instruction on July 22, 2020. Students who choose virtual instruction will be sent an email for online registration. Plans are subject to change as health guidelines are updated. For more information regarding the 2020-2021 school year, visit