Temperatures being taken prior to entrance into school buildings is just one precaution administered during  the COVID-19 pandemic as more cases develop in the community.

The Monroe City R-1 School (MCR-1) District was effected by the COVID-19 pandemic on the third day of the school year. Students had barely had time to learn their new schedules, before being switched to a new way of learning. Superintendent Tony DeGrave announced on August 26, MCR-1 High School classes had been cancelled for the rest of the week for enhanced cleaning and training measures.

Prior to school starting, the FFA Trap Shooting team had held a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 20. After the meeting, it was determined there had been a student who later tested positive for COVID-19 that had attended the meeting. At that time, all of the close contacts (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) were isolated to one specific area of the building. As soon as the District was notified of the potential exposure to a positive case, they collected contact tracing information from the employees and asked individuals who were primary contacts to self-quarantine until they were contacted by local health officials.

Monroe County Health Department Administrator stated, “I think the Monroe City School District has done a great job with their proactive activities.  Any group of people who meet and do not keep social distance are at risk of contagion.”

On Monday, students began the implementation of hybrid learning. This is an alternative academic teaching process which had been preapproved by the Monroe City Board of Education as they prepared for the school year and the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.

The new system will divide students into two groups. Group A will be students with last name A-L and attend on Mondays and Thursdays in person, Group B will be students with last name M-Z and attend on Tuesdays and Fridays in person. All students will attend virtual learning on Wednesdays and on the opposite days they are not in school. Unfortunate times have brought unfortunate circumstances for students to attend school without the “normal” socialization and interaction in the past. Although, the new system of hybrid learning has not been determined on the amount of time students will have to attend to this schedule.

The students who had had close contact with the student testing positive were determined through contact tracing and asked to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.

Superintendent DeGrave shared the district’s priority is the safety of their students, stating, “We are very excited to get the best students in Northeast Missouri back in the swing of daily education. The first day was much like starting over for all of us, I was very proud of our students and our great staff as the “new” normal has lots of processes that need fine tuning, the first day was tackled with the joy of returning to what Monroe City R-1 does best, taking care of kids. COVID-19 brings new challenges to the school setting and each day evaluations are being made on how we can better equip ourselves to ensure the safety of our staff and students.  One day at a time, together as a community with patience and guidance will allow us to keep moving forward. Go Panthers!”