OHS Students to Return to “Connected” Learning


Tiger Paw Photo

On Friday Nov. 13, students walk into the last day of the blended model before heading back to connect learning on Monday Nov. 16.

With so many students and staff being sent home due to contact tracing from potential exposure to the Coronavirus, in-person learning has become more difficult. Teachers and students have to adapt to the changes of having to learn in-person while some students have to join a class through a google meet. 

“I had a class yesterday where I had more students logged-in to the google meet and watching me virtually, than I had physically sitting in the classroom,” said Mrs. Sarah Guenther, science teacher. 

Students, however, will not have to deal with these challenges for a while. In a statement released Thursday (Nov. 12) by Superintendent Dr. Chris Gaines, high school students in the Mehlville School District will return to the connected model on Monday, Nov. 16. 

After watching St. Louis County COVID-19 cases slowly decline from mid-August through the first week of October,” said Dr. Gaines, “cases began to rise again. We are now seeing sharp increases in both our positive cases and our positivity rates, two of the key metrics we have been following.” 

With that in mind, all high school students will return to the connected model — a format students experienced for the first nine weeks of school that had them attending classes completely virtual. They will join google meets or participate in online activities and assignments assigned by the teachers. 

These changes however, will only affect high school students for the moment. Grade levels kindergarten through eighth grade will continue the blended model of learning.

“We have prioritized keeping our early childhood through eighth-grade students in person as our older students are better equipped to learn virtually without as much supervision,” said Gaines. “Additionally, our younger students have lower positivity rates than our older students.”

The first connected learning schedule had students ending the school day at 1:40 p.m. With a new schedule in place, the school day will now end at 2:30. The new schedule will be implemented on the first day back in connected learning on Nov. 16

The new online schedule for the high school starts at 7:30am and ends at 2:30pm. (Tamara Sunkett)

I’m honestly not sure which schedule is better,” said Ms. Sue Caton, psychology teacher, “Having been in both though, I feel like we will be able to get through more content virtually than the blended model.  I’ve had so many kids quarantined it was really more virtual teaching anyway!! As teachers we are used to making decisions on the fly and I think that has helped a lot during this crazy time! Patience, flexibility and kindness don’t hurt either!”

According to the school district dashboard released on Tuesday Nov. 10, there were seven new positive cases and 111 students and staff were told to stay home. School officials said that over 200 students were in quarantine during the three weeks of in-person learning. 

To view all COVID related information at OHS and throughout MSD, you can check that information here. Information is updated every Tuesday.