DESE-Related Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) updates this page often with new details related to COVID-19 and DESE and/or public school operations. See the topics below and click to expand each of those sections for more specific information.
- Administrative Memos & Previously Released Documents
- CCR-21-005 | 2020-21 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Updates
- CCR-21-004 | Missouri Healthy Schools COVID-19 Supplement Survey
- CCR-21-002 | Spring 2021 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Testing
- QS-21-001 | Deadline for 2019-20 End-of-Course (EOC) Exceptions
- FAS-21-002 | Supplemental Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Guidance and Allocations
- EQ-20-003 | Substitute Teacher Reimbursements
- DSM-21-001 | Early 2021 June Student Enrollment and Attendance Submission
- FAS-21-001 | Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund Reporting Requirements
- QS-20-014 | Recalculation of ESSER and GEER Grant Allocations
- EQ-20-003 | Substitute Teacher Reimbursements
- FAS-20-011 | Additional Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Dollars for K-12 Support
- Alternative Methods of Instruction
DESE has compiled all Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) information on a new webpage. That information can be found at https://dese.mo.gov/alternative-methods-instruction-0.
- COVID-19 Testing: Antigen and Screening Testing
Supplemental Funding Available for Missouri K-12 Schools Participating in COVID-19 Testing Programs
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), through the Reopening Schools cooperative agreement, has supplemental funding available to all school districts participating in at least one of the Missouri COVID-19 testing programs (BinaxNOW or Screening Testing). The purpose of this supplemental funding for COVID-19 is to offset costs a school or school district (public, charter, or private) incurs related to prevention and detection of COVID-19 in the school setting during the 2021-22 school year. These costs can include but are not limited to: staff time, personal protective equipment, printing costs of forms and materials, and small air filtration devices.
The amount each school/district receives through the supplemental funding program depends on the total population (students and staff) of buildings participating in testing programs. Schools/districts will receive $200 per/person x population of participating buildings up to $600,000. Please note the total amount is based on the participating building’s total student and staff population, not the number of students/staff participating in the testing program. DHSS has set $30,000 as the minimum amount each school/district will receive. Schools/districts may request less funding, if desired.
To apply, please complete the online supplemental funding application. Schools/school districts receiving the supplemental funding are required to submit a budget for the funding prior to expending any of the funds. Please reach out to the K-12 Screening Testing team at email@example.com for questions regarding supplemental funding availability or visit the DHSS website here.
Please see the following important information from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
COVID-19 Screening Testing Program for Missouri K-12 Schools Offers Additional Layer of Prevention for 2021-22 School Year
DHSS is offering Missouri’s K-12 local education agencies the opportunity to participate in a COVID-19 screening testing program using a pooled testing approach during the 2021-22 school year. Please reference the Missouri Screening Testing Program for K-12 Schools Guide for complete information about the program. Screening testing means regularly (e.g., weekly) testing people without symptoms with the goal of identifying and isolating COVID-19 positive individuals. This type of testing can help schools identify potential outbreaks early and give them the confidence needed to safely, and with precautions, maintain in-person learning for their students. Screening testing is just one piece of a comprehensive approach for COVID-19 mitigation in schools.
Update — DHSS announced a partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks Inc. (“Ginkgo”) to provide pooled SARS-CoV-2 testing through Concentric by Ginkgo. Starting Monday, August 23, Concentric will begin enrolling and onboarding interested schools in this comprehensive testing program. This will continue throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Laboratory and testing services are provided in partnership with local Missouri labs. You can read the full DHSS news release announcing the partnership with Ginkgo here.
DHSS invites all K-12 schools to participate, including public school districts, charter schools and private schools. Participating schools/districts will receive testing resources and staffing, if desired. Staffing support includes assistance with the entire testing process including registering individuals for testing, providing testing materials, collecting and testing samples, and reporting results. Schools will also receive communication resources.
To participate in the K-12 Screening Testing Program, schools/districts need to complete an Authorized School Application, which includes completing a Statement of Assurances and Testing Plan Worksheet. For more information about Missouri’s K-12 Screening Testing Program and other questions about screening testing, please contact K12screeningtesting@health.mo.gov or visit the K-12 Screening Testing webpage.
Office Hours to Field Questions
If you have questions about the screening testing program, you can view the recordings below from the July 12 and 13 office hours sessions hosted by DHSS and DESE staff, along with infectious disease physicians from Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.
The Missouri Legislature provided the Department of Health and Senior Services the spending authority needed to confirm that funding will be available for Missouri to continue providing rapid antigen tests to public and private schools through June 2022.
- DHSS/DESE K-12 Antigen Testing Program Guidance Document
- Antigen Testing Program Hub (all antigen testing information & links)
- Antigen Program Application Form (open to new applicants any time)
- Antigen Test Reorder Form (now open for orders for the 2021-22 school year)
- The K-12 Antigen Testing Program dashboard/visualization shows all participating districts/schools, how many tests each institution requested, the status of the statewide shipments, and how many tests have been used by each district/school.
Please contact AntigenTesting@dese.mo.gov with questions.
- CDC & U.S. Department of Education Information
- COVID-19 Cases Among School-Aged Children
The state of Missouri has re-launched the COVID-19 in School District Communities dashboard, which tracks positive cases among all school-aged residents (ages 5-19), including non-public school students, in each school district's geographic boundary.
- Civil Rights Resources for Schools
U.S. Department of Education Provides Technical Assistance Amid Pandemic: The U.S. Department of Education’s (USED’s) Office for Civil Rights has released new COVID-19-related technical assistance for elementary and secondary schools. The technical assistance document, Questions and Answers for K-12 Public Schools in the Current COVID-19 Environment, is issued primarily in response to inquiries received by USED and provides important information related to schools’ obligations under Section 504/Title II, Title VI and Title IX as schools continue to make decisions regarding the provision of educational services for all children.
- Early Childhood Information
- #HealthyatSchool Toolkit
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is providing a toolkit for local education agencies, state organizations and the general public to access social media and other shareable content for the #HealthyatSchool "Sick? Stay Home!" campaign. Please visit the #HealthyatSchool toolkit for more specific information.
- Reopening and Operating Guidance for Schools
Reopening & Operating Guidance for Schools
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and DESE continue to update the Missouri School Reopening & Operating Guidance document as needed to provide state-level guidance about K-12 school operations amid the pandemic. DHSS has also provided Guidance for Assessing COVID-19 Exposures and Defining Close Contacts in a School Setting that contains important information.
U.S. Department of Education's “Return to School Roadmap”
On August 2, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released the “Return to School Roadmap,” a resource to support students, schools, educators, and communities as they prepare to return to safe, healthy in-person learning this fall. The roadmap provides key resources and supports for students, parents, educators, and school communities to build excitement around returning to classrooms this school year and outlines how federal funding can support the safe and sustained return to in-person learning.
ABC Science Collaborative Publishes COVID-19 Resource & Guidance
The ABC Science Collaborative has identified strategies to help school leaders use current data to consider the best, safest, and most practical policies to promote attendance in the classroom, where most students learn best, during the 2021–22 school year. The ABC Science Collaborative coordinated a comprehensive review of the current scientific literature and available data on COVID-19 transmission and mitigation strategies for K–12 schools. The group recently published a summary of those findings – COVID-19 and Schools: The Year in Review and a Path Forward – to provide an informational resource and practical guidance for school leaders and policy makers to consider as they plan a path forward for safely resuming full in-person instruction in the coming school year.
The ABC Science Collaborative is coordinated by the Duke Clinical Research Institute at the Duke University School of Medicine and is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Additional reopening and operating guidance information can be found in the following resources:
- Special Education Information & Guidance
- September 17, 2020 - New Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities
- September 11, 2020 - COVID-19 Related School Re-entry Reminders
- July 30, 2020 - COVID-19 Related School Reopening and Distance Learning Question and Answer Guide
Early Childhood Special Education opportunities are of great value to children and their families. Attending a high-quality preschool program that is in a public school, or is community-based, provides children with rich experiences that support on-going success in school. Given these unusual times, early childhood experiences, especially for our most vulnerable populations (e.g., children with disabilities, English language learners), can help close opportunity and achievement gaps that have been persistent in Missouri. During COVID-19, guidance is being issued in response to changing circumstances and information. The ECSE COVID-19 Resource Table is designed to provide resources for early childhood special educators and parents to access as enhancements to learning. Please note that many community-based childcare programs continue to serve children safely through the COVID-19 public health emergency.
After receiving many questions from constituents, the DESE Office of Special Education developed a COVID-19 question and answer guide. The compliance team utilized information from a variety of resources, including guidance documents posted by other states and national organizations as well as questions received from Missouri educators serving special education students. State and local education agencies are testing these uncharted waters together. Our challenge is to think about the intent and purpose behind the procedural requirements for each step of the special education process, and then lead teams as they reflect on how they can fulfill that same purpose and intent in an alternate way, in light of our current circumstances. We must do the best we can to stay true to the intent of IDEA. Please remember to review the daily LRP site for new information. View the DESE Special Education Compliance COVID-19 Question and Answer Guide.
- Questions and answers document from OSEP in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B provision of services in the current COVID-19 environment
- Supplemental Fact Sheet from OSEP/OCR Addressing Serving Children with Disabilities During COVID-19 School Closures
- Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak
- Fact Sheet for Protecting Students' Civil Rights During COVID-19 Response
- First Steps Updates: Letter sent to all providers, SPOE agencies and their staff on Tuesday, March 17, explaining the suspension of face to face meetings and services.
- Statutory Waivers
Under the new Executive Order 21-09 announced by Governor Parson on August 27, the following education-related statutory waivers remain in effect through December 31:
- Use of School Buses — Section 163.161.1, RSMo
- Retired Member of PSRS Working for a District — Sections 169.560.1 and .2, RSMo
- Retired Member of PSRS Working for a District — Section 169.660.2, RSMo
The following education-related statutory waiver was terminated on August 31, 2021:
- Hearings for Unaccredited or Provisionally Accredited — Section 162.081.2, RSMo
This waiver covers a fiscal year requirement and therefore should be terminated for the start of Fiscal Year 2022.
The following education-related statutory waivers were previously terminated:
- Professional Development Fund, etc. — Section 160.530, RSMo
- Hold Harmless Districts Exempt from Withholdings — Section 163.031.7, RSMo
- Transfers to and from the Incidental Fund — Section 165.011, RSMo
- Audits of Records — Section 165.121.4, RSMo
- Vaccine Information
Vaccine Promotion Resources from U.S. DHHS
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS’) COVID-19 Public Education Campaign has made available two great resources to promote COVID-19 vaccination as we approach the new school year.
The Back to School toolkit (English and Spanish) is available for school district leaders, teachers, parent leaders, and school supporters that want to help increase confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in their school. The toolkit includes vaccination clinic guides, resources for parent leader meetings, and more. The resource hub has a number of outreach materials specifically designed for various audiences, including students and parents.
Missouri Vaccine Incentive Program:
Missouri has launched the Vaccine Incentive Program – MO VIP – to encourage vaccination among all Missourians ages 12 and older. Over the next three months, 900 Missourians who have been or will choose to be vaccinated could win cash or an education savings account prize in the amount of $10,000.
Missourians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are now able to enter to win one of the 900 prizes. The first drawing will be on August 13; drawings will occur every two weeks until October 8. Once Missouri residents receive a dose, they become eligible to enter the sweepstakes at MOStopsCovid.com/win.
Entries will be divided into three categories:Red: Missourians age 18 and up receiving at least one dose of vaccine after July 21. White: Missourians age 18 and up receiving at least one dose of vaccine before July 21. Blue: Missourians ages 12 to 17 receiving at least one dose of vaccine at any time.
Those without the ability to enter the sweepstakes online can get assistance by calling the COVID-19 hotline Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. at 877-435-8411.Get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines and find a vaccine near you at MOStopsCovid.com.
Eighty winners will be randomly selected during each drawing from both the Red and White categories (10 from each congressional district). Winners will each receive a cash prize of $10,000. During each drawing, 20 adolescents from the Blue category will be randomly selected to receive a $10,000 education savings account through the Missouri State Treasurer’s MOST 529 program. This means every two weeks of the program, 180 Missourians will be winners for a total of 900 individuals. These preliminary winners will all have their vaccination status verified.
The Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a vaccine toolkit for Missouri schools with easily accessible information regarding the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible children.
Complete information about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found at MOStopsCOVID.com.
- Webinars Hosted
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- June 16, 2021: Click here to view a webinar in which DESE discussed and provided updates on COVID Relief Funds. The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.
- May 5, 2021: Click here to view a webinar in which DESE and DHSS discussed ongoing updates, challenges, and questions related to COVID-19. The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.
- April 14, 2021: Click here to view a webinar in which DESE discussed COVID Relief Funds. The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.
- April 7, 2021: Click here to view a webinar in which DESE and DHSS discussed the ongoing updates, challenges, and questions related to COVID-19. The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.