If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
by Patty Cheffey
Upon the requirement of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and number of COVID related quarantine cases in the school district, the Palmyra R-I Board of Education reviewed its Safe Return to School Plan and made a couple of necessary changes.
Those changes were made during last week’s board meeting, at which the members also reviewed start of school numbers, set the tuition rate and approved an early graduation.
According to a letter sent out to parents last week, Superintendent Kirt Malone noted the revisions are necessary in the “hopes of reducing the number of close contact quarantines.
“Determining close contact status of students and staff will move from a 6-foot radius down to a 3-foot radius, with masks remaining optional,” he wrote, noting Palmyra would consider having a mask mandate if the local COVID numbers indicate a need for one.
In addition, starting last week, the Marion County Health Department began making all contact with families regarding timelines for quarantine and isolation.
“The Palmyra R-I School District will no longer inform parents of quarantine timelines. Any required quarantines for close contacts will come directly from the Health Department to the parents themselves.
“The MCHD uses a 14-day quarantine timeline and does not accept certain tests to get out of quarantine early,” Malone noted.
In addition, he said, contact tracers will continue to investigate positive COVID-19 case and will contact potential close contact as well as communicate with parents and students who are identified as close contacts of a known positive case.
Since it will be the Health Department which will contact parents concerning quarantine timelines, parents are encouraged to contact the Health Department and their family physicians regarding quarantine information.
Malone said in the letter these changes apply only to the close contact individuals and not to positive cases.
The letter noted there have been 31 persons test positive for COVID-19 and at least 290 people have been identified as close contact and were quarantined or tested positive and were in isolation.
Some of those individuals identified were also vaccinated and not required to quarantine.
Among the student population, no elementary students have been identified as close contact, one middle school student identified tested positive and six high school students identified as close contacts have test positive while in quarantine, Malone noted.
He further noted the district will continue to review the COVID conditions aad make necessary changes to the district’s plan.
In other business, in their reports, the principals reported on enrollment numbers.
High school had 377 students enrolled, middle school, 335 students; elementary school 473 and Pre-K, 24 for a total of 1,185.
Last year enrollment was 1,115 to start the year.
“We have seen an increase in enrollment throughout the district during the last few years,” Malone said. “Our enrollment is trending upward as we now have four grades with 100 or more students and two grades in the 90s.”
The board also set the tuition rate for the 2021-2022 school year at $10,065, and approved the early graduation of a senior class member.
Kayla McBride reviewed Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and End of Course (EOC) data with the board.
“The student’s scores in the Palmyra School district scores were comparable to the states scores for the 2021 school year,” said McBride. “Data was also shared from 2019 school year for Palmyra as well as the state. Students did not test in 2020 due to COVID-19.”
McBride added there is always room for improvement in all content area.
The board also:
• discussed the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) Fall Conference plans;
• discussed the date of Saturday, Dec. 4 for the annual board retreat; and
• approved the updated substitute teacher list as presented.