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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

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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. DESE remains committed to doing all we can to remove barriers and provide public schools leaders the flexibility they need to remain focused on the health and safety of their students, staff members and communities.

Administrative Memos & Previously Released Documents
Adult Education (HiSET)
  • High School Equivalency (HISET) Testing Center Closings: A list of High School Equivalency (HiSET) testing center closings are posted on the HSE website. Closing updates will be made to the website as they become available.
Alternative Methods of Instruction
Assessment/Testing Information
  • On March 19, Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven shared: “There is a time and a place for statewide required assessments and now is not the time,“ said Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Effective immediately, Missouri will be cancelling statewide required assessments for this school year.” See Commissioner Vandeven's full video here (via Facebook).
    • DESE officials examined the impact of cancelling spring 2020 testing, specifically on local education agencies and 2020 graduating seniors. Read that information and the FAQs here.
    • DESE successfully requested that the U.S. Department of Education waive certain requirements in section 1111 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). This allows Missouri to waive assessments required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the identification of comprehensive and targeted schools and the requirements to report ESSA required items on the State, LEA or building report cards.
  • In response to COVID-19, ACT announced that it will offer a flexible schedule for summer 2020 test dates and test-at-home options for fall/winter 2020. Read complete details from ACT.
  • The College Board announced changes in the Advanced Placement (AP) Exam programming due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are offering free, online AP classes and take-at-home AP exams.  For more information, go to the following websites:
Broadband Access & Digital Divide
Calendars, Finance and Funding
  • June 1: Governor Parson announces $131 Million in additional budget restrictions from DESE. See Governor's News Release. Also, see Administrative Memo FAS-20-005 -  Additional FY20 Budget Restrictions for details about the budget restrictions from the Division of Financial and Administrative Services. 
  • May 28: To access the 2019-20 Attendance Hours Forgiveness Letter Form, Summer School Minimum Hour Waiver Form and/or Start Date Law Exemption Request Form, school leaders should visit the MCDS Portal and click on the Login button in the upper right corner. After logging in, under State of Missouri, click on Reports and Resources, and then scroll down to COVID-19 Forms (in the Districts, Charters & Schools category on the left side bar).​
  • May 12 / Start Date Law Exemptions: The State Board of Education voted to grant exemptions to the school start date law that goes into effect for the 2020-21 school year, given the unusual and extenuating circumstances COVID-19 has presented. The State Board of Education has this authority under Section 171.031.6, RSMo. These exemptions are only valid for one academic year (2020-21). State board members will allow the Commissioner of Education to grant those exemptions to expedite and streamline the approval process for districts that submit a request. DESE will create an online submission form for districts to submit their request for exemption; in that form, school leaders will be required to: 1) show they garnered local input before submitting the request, which must include, but is not limited to a public hearing, 2) demonstrate how this exemption will benefit students and their learning, and 3) explain how this exemption will minimize the transmission of COVID-19. An emergency rule, 5 CSR 30-4.050, which sets forth this criteria, was approved by the State Board of Education and will be filed before May 15. Districts may begin gathering the necessary information for the exemption request and/or making plans to gather local input.​
  • April 3 / FEMA Public Assistance Funds: Public PK-12 schools that have incurred certain costs related to COVID-19 may be eligible for participation in the Public Assistance program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). School leaders are encouraged to view the Applicant Briefing video and the Fact Sheet in the FEMA Guidance section here on the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) website to learn more about the program. School leaders interested in pursuing these funds may then complete the Request for Public Assistance (RPA), found on that webpage.
  • March 31: Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) COVID-19 FAQ
  • March 31: Special Education Finance COVID-19 FAQ 
  • March 27: Administrative Memo FAS-20-002 - Attendance Reporting, Calendar and PDC Spending 
  • March 19: Local education agencies (LEAs) will not be required to make up SY 2019-20 calendar hours lost due to COVID-19 and missed calendar hours will not impact the calculation of average daily attendance. To streamline this process, DESE will soon send LEAs an online form to collect the necessary waiver information. We recognize the importance of ensuring that our schools are paid and that educational opportunities continue to be provided for our students throughout this time of social distancing. Districts and charters should make attendance decisions based on the safety and well-being of their students and staff, without concern that the low attendance numbers will negatively impact payment. Further guidance regarding school finance issues will be included in a separate memo from the Division of Financial and Administrative services early next week.
  • Coding COVID-19-Related Absences: Any student absence related to COVID-19 would be coded/entered like any other student absence related to illness.​​​
  • DESE has compiled all CARES Act information on to a new webpage. That information, along with Department contact information, can be found at dese.mo.gov/cares-act.​​
  • July 6: Missouri will use $55 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to expand educational opportunities for students and address two key challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for K-12 education: student internet connectivity and potential learning loss during extended school closures. See full News Release

CDC & Missouri Health Department Information
Childcare Message for School Administrators

School Leaders,

Please click here to see an important message from Governor Mike Parson and Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven about providing childcare during COVID-19 school closures.

As you are well aware, there are numerous consequences associated with extended school closures, including the need for childcare.  The Governor’s Office is working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as well as the Departments of Health and Senior Services, Public Safety, Social Services, and Corrections to identify childcare gaps that may exist for critical health care professionals and first responders in Missouri communities.  We then hope to develop collaborative plans to help provide the needed childcare for these important public servants.​

Schools may continue to provide childcare for working families when/if possible, using the CDC childcare guidelines here.

COVID-19 Message for Children
  • ​March 23: The State of Missouri and Governor Mike Parson have created a special message just for Missouri kids, to make sure they know how to help stop the spread of #COVID19. Schools, educators and families, please share with the children in your lives. See the full video here.
Educator Preparation and Certification
  • Becoming a Certified Teacher: Educator Preparation & Educator Certification continue to work closely with Missouri Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) to ensure candidates can participate in authentic field experiences that are designed with both the professional needs and the safety of future teachers and PK-12 districts in mind. Please contact your EPP with any questions you have about student teaching or other field-based aspects of your preparation program.
  • MEGA Test Centers Update: The Pearson Company, administrator of the MEGA assessments (MoCA and MoGEA) for the state of Missouri, provides DESE frequent updates regarding their testing center openings and safety protocols. Testing centers are currently operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing and frequent sanitizing of spaces. Please be advised that overbooking of candidates may occur in an attempt to accommodate as many test takers as possible during this time, and some registrants may find their appointments cancelled and rescheduled during the month prior to their scheduled time, according to Pearson’s current protocols. Pearson maintains updated information about MEGA testing here.
  • Contact:​
    Educator Preparation  |  eqprep@dese.mo.gov  |  573-751-1668​
    Educator Certification  |  certification@dese.mo.gov | 573-751-0051

Extended School Closures
  • April 9: Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri schools shall remain closed through this school year. DESE, along with several school superintendents from across the state, made the recommendation to Governor Parson. Learn more about this announcement here in remarks by Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.
  • Watch Commissioner Vandeven's message to Missouri students, families and educators here: Facebook Twitter
  • All 555 Missouri districts/charter schools are closed. A list detailing each district/charter's official status, including first date of closure, is available here.​
Event Updates and Cancellations
  • 59th Annual Cooperative Conference for School Administrators: Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and the possibility that the pandemic could impact school calendars this summer, the in-person Annual Cooperative Conference for School Administrators has been cancelled. Instead, the conference will be held as a series of webinars. Information will be presented each afternoon during the week of August 3-7. Please mark your calendars for these events. More information will be shared here as it becomes available. 
  • DECA Announces Multiple Cancellations: DECA’s State Career Development Conference (SCDC) will not take place in Kansas City. Instead, DECA will use a virtual platform to determine our state winners. Details pertaining to testing and written event projects will be emailed to chapter advisors and posted on the Missouri DECA website. Missouri DECA is also cancelling its planned virtual SCDC. Please remain connected with DECA’s social media channels (and this webpage) for more updates as they emerge.
  • FCCLA State Conference Cancelled: The FCCLA 2020 state conference and all of its associated events have been cancelled. Missouri FCCLA will be using a process approved by National FCCLA, based upon regional scores to determine participants who will be eligible to advance to the national conference. Refunds will be processed through the MU Conference Office. A social media campaign to highlight award winners and chapter accomplishments is being coordinated and more information will be released as those plans are finalized. Full details have been sent to chapter advisers and posted on the Missouri FCCLA website.
  • FFA Event Updates: All FFA events scheduled this summer, including the State FFA Convention 2020, will be delivered using virtual platforms. Proficiency, State Degree and Chapter Activity award finalists will be announced upon completion of judging and will be recognized during the virtual convention. Leadership Development events will be conducted in early August. State Career Development events will be conducted in late August. 
  • HOSA Conference Update: The face-to-face Missouri HOSA State Leadership Conference was cancelled. Missouri HOSA is now utilizing a virtual platform to determine state winners. Details pertaining to testing and other event projects have been emailed to Local Chapter Advisors and posted on the Missouri HOSA Website. This virtual platform will allow all registered student members to compete from home.
  • Missouri FBLA-PBL State Leadership Conference Held Virtually: The 2020 Missouri FBLA-PBL State Leadership Conference has shifted to a virtual format, allowing students to compete and participate in leadership and career activities remotely.  All three student divisions (Middle Level, FBLA, and PBL) competing members, their advisers, and parents will have access to the Virtual SLC. For additional information, please see the letter from the State Office or visit the Missouri FBLA-PBL Virtual SLC website.
  • New Counselor Institute: The New Counselor Institute (NCI) scheduled for July 13-16 at the Stoney Creek Hotel in Columbia has been cancelled. NCI will not be rescheduled for this year. If you are a new counselor, click here to sign up for the DESE mentoring program and school counseling listserv to receive updates and resources.
  • SkillsUSA Event Updates: In light of the current health issues and concerns resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19), DESE, in conjunction with our conference partners at the State Technical College of Missouri have made the difficult decision to cancel SkillsUSA Missouri’s State Leadership & Skills Conference and all of its associated in-person events. Virtual championships will not be offered. While a variety of factors influenced this decision, be assured that the health and safety of our students and stakeholders is always our primary concern. Full refunds will be processed upon staffs return to the office. For questions, please contact SkillsUSA@dese.mo.gov.
  • TSA Conference Update: The Missouri TSA 2020 State Championships Conference, scheduled at Missouri S&T on March 29-31, moved to digital submission this year with some modification to events to allow for such submissions. Details pertaining to testing and other event projects submissions will be emailed to Local Chapter Advisors and posted on the Missouri TSA Website (www.motsaweb.org). Please remain connected with Missouri TSA’s social media channels and TSA Local Chapter Advisors for more updates as they emerge.
#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.

High School Senior Information
  • Graduating seniors and their families are encouraged to review the information on the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development’s (DHEWD’s) COVID-19 webpage here. At the bottom of that webpage, DHEWD has created a list of Missouri colleges and universities with links directly to the information those institutions are providing for high school seniors. Additional links are being added daily. The DHEWD COVID-19 webpage also contains up-to-date guidance and information about the A+ Scholarship and the Bright Flight Scholarship.
  • DESE officials have examined the impact of cancelling spring 2020 testing, specifically on local education agencies and 2020 graduating seniors. Read the information here.
LEA Deadlines
  • June Cycle MOSIS and Core Data Reporting During COVID-19: The June Cycle is now available for reporting in MOSIS and Core Data. DESE continues to receive many questions about the reporting of the June Cycle data and the impact COVID-19. The Office of Data System Management has created this document to address many of the questions DESE has received. This document will be updated as additional information becomes available. 
  • Extended Learning Deadline Extensions: The following deadline extensions pertain to afterschool grantees for both 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) and School Age Community (SAC) grants:
  • 2018-19 Evaluations/Guided Reflections deadline extended to July 15.
  • 2019-20 evaluation surveys and documentation collection extended to July 15 (for those not able to access documentation, provide a narrative of the documentation that can later be submitted).
  • 2019-20 evaluation school day teacher surveys deadline extended to June 15
  • DESSA Staff Time 2 assessment for 2019-20 is waived.
  • Grades reporting of regular 21st CCLC students is reduced to just one pre and one post grade for the 2019-20 year.
  • Data entry of student attendance for 21st CCLC and SAC must be inputted on or before July 15 for 2019-20 student attendance, up until the time the physically located program site was closed due to COVID-19.
  • 2020-2021 21st CCLC continuation reports deadline extended to May 15.
  • SAC Final Program Report form deadline extended to August 30 (even if grant extension approved through September 15).
  • SAC grants can be extended through September 15, 2020 with prior approval. In such cases, Final Expenditure Reports would be due no later than September 30, 2020.
  • 21st CCLC grants can be extended through June 30, 2021 with prior approval. In such cases, Final Expenditure Reports would be due no later than July 15, 2021.

Programs seeking more information on these extended deadlines should contact DESE’s Extended Learning Section at exl@dese.mo.gov or 573-522-2627.

  • Federal Programs Deadline Extensions: DESE will extended the following deadlines for Consolidated Federal Programs Applications by one month. DESE will continue to monitor the deadline dates and, based on the conditions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, will use additional flexibility when needed.
    • March 31: recommended last day to order materials and supplies. Was due April 30.
    • April 15: deadline to submit the ESEA Program Self-Monitoring Checklist for April Cycle. Will now be due May 15.
    • April 30: deadline to submit ESEA Consolidated Application Revisions and proposed Summer School Plans. Will now be due May 31​.
    • No decision has been reached regarding the July 1 deadline for the 2020-2021 ESEA Consolidated Application. In the event it becomes necessary to extend that deadline, we will begin researching ways to do so without the LEA being at risk of not having a substantial approval date when the new year begins on July 1. Please keep in mind we are still responsible for providing supplemental equitable services to our nonpublic school students, teachers and families through Title I, II and IV.A. We received some communication from an LEA asking about how to provide services to their nonpublic students. The LEA specifically asked about providing a Zoom experience for nonpublic students to connect with the Title I teacher. This would be a great way to connect with those students and to continue providing the required equitable services. If an LEA has any questions, please feel free to reach out to your Federal Programs Supervisor. For Title IV.B, 21st CCLC and SAC grants, the deadline for budget amendments stated in the grant guidance has been waived for the current year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at exl@dese.mo.gov.
  • The deadline for Summer School applications has been extended to June 1.
Mental Health/Counselor Information
Missouri Resident Information
  • Missouri Services Navigator: Missourians in need during COVID-19 can find information about essential services available through the online Missouri Services Navigator system. This resource offers instant access to available programs and services such as school meal programs for students, food banks, child care, diaper banks, counseling and organizations that assist with housing, transportation or utilities issues. There are currently over 2,000 services listed, with new services added daily. Users can search by keyword, location and/or service. Every program and service contains a map of the location as well as contact information.
  • #Essential4Kids – Kids Need Schools to Continue Reporting Abuse During COVID-19: In times of crisis and economic insecurity, rates of child abuse and neglect increase. However, reports to Missouri’s child abuse and neglect hotline have declined dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students not being in school creates barriers to reporting abuse. New resources from Missouri KidsFirst empower teachers, counselors, bus drivers, nutrition staff and other school professionals in their role as mandated reporters, as they work with children virtually and in non-traditional ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. The #Essential4Kids resources (including a flyer and video) provide a quick refresher on the signs of child abuse and neglect and how to fulfill your responsibility as a mandated reporter during this extraordinary time. 
  • Broadband Providers Respond to COVID-19: Broadband access is more important than ever, as Missourians have been instructed to stay home from work and school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accessibility is critical to meet our needs for education as well as telemedicine, telecommuting and overall quality of life. In response to this, several broadband providers are temporarily offering free internet service, waiving disconnect and late fees, providing access to Wi-Fi hot spots, and other measures to help people at home access the services they need. Click here to learn more on the DHSS website.
  • Protecting Students’ Civil Rights During COVID-19 Response: The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education released a webinar on ensuring web accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing online learning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, OCR published a fact sheet for education leaders on how to protect students’ civil rights as school leaders take steps to keep students safe and secure. These resources will assist education leaders in making distance learning accessible to students with disabilities and in preventing discrimination during this Administration-wide response effort. See the full release
Parents as Teachers & First Steps Programs
Re-Entry Guidance for Schools
  • August 7: DESE and DHSS hosted a webinar so school leaders, school nurses and local public health officials could learn more about the algorithm being used in the St. Louis area to address Protocol for Schools Assisting the Health Department in Close Contact Identification for COVID-19 Cases. View the webinar recording.
    • Here are the links to the additional algorithms developed by the Washington University Pediatric and Adolescent Ambulatory Research Consortium, which can also be found in the recently updated DHSS/DESE School Reopening FAQ document:
      • School Nurse Algorithm: shows flow chart for decision-making on screening students for COVID-19 symptoms
      • Clinician Algorithms: shows flow charts for healthcare professionals assessing for COVID-19 in children with symptoms both with and without known exposure
  • August 3: The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and DESE released an updated document today that answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about K-12 school reopening health-related guidance. The original document, posted on July 9, has been updated to include further details regarding both proactive and reactive strategies that Missouri’s K-12 schools can utilize to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and best protect their students, staff members and communities. There are no statewide health mandates related to K-12 school reopening being issued at this time, and it is important to note that local school boards and local jurisdictions have the authority to implement more stringent or less restrictive preventative measures than those listed in this document. Also, please note this is a living document, and edits or updates will be made if/when necessary.
    • Webinar: DESE and DHSS hosted another School Reopening Webinar on August 3 to discuss the new information added to the guidance FAQ document. Follow these links to view the webinar recording (advance to 18:20 on the recording) and the PowerPoint slides.
    • DHSS and DESE have also released the PPE Guidance for School Nurses
    • In May, representatives from DHSS and DESE worked with the Missouri School Boards’ Association to publish the “Pandemic Recovery Consideration: Re-Entry and Reopening of Schools” document, which contains more thorough and detailed information for school leaders to review and consider when developing their local plans for returning to onsite teaching and learning.
  • June 16: DESE and DHSS hosted a webinar to discuss school reopening guidance with school leaders and local health officials. Click here to view the recording. Please note that Commissioner Vandeven goes into detail about DESE-specific topics, including attendance reporting and funding, near the 47:00 mark in the video. The question and answer segment begins at 54:30. You can view the slide deck from the webinar here.

    During the presentation, a representative from the Department of Economic Development discussed how schools can access the State of Missouri’s PPE Marketplace. Click here to review that information again. You can then access the PPE Marketplace here. Click here to access the DHSS COVID-19 dashboard (scroll down and select the button in the middle of the page). You can continue to visit that site to view your county’s up-to-date health information.

    DESE will use the questions submitted about education-specific topics to generate a Frequently Asked Questions document for school leaders. DESE will also share the health-related questions with our partners at DHSS to inform the forthcoming guidance document.

  • May 22 / CDC Guidance: The CDC recently released the following guidance documents and tools to assist school leaders in making reopening decisions for K-12 schools:
  • May 12: The Missouri School Boards’ Association has published the “Pandemic Recovery Consideration: Re-Entry and Reopening of Schools” document for school leaders to review and consider when developing their local plans for returning to onsite teaching and learning.
  • May 6: The American Academy of Pediatrics released this guidance for schools on returning to in-person education.​​
  • DESE continues to urge school leaders to discuss reentry strategies with local health officials to determine the most appropriate actions to meet the unique needs and circumstances of your community.
Remote Teaching/Learning Resources & Alternate Educational Opportunities
  • Missouri Connections Adds Virtual Tours / Career Trek Information: Click here to learn more about a pair of exciting opportunities! Take a virtual campus tour of 2- and 4-year schools across the nation. Visit MissouriConnections.org, choose the school you want to tour, then select the video button on the school’s profile page. In addition, elementary students can get at-home access to Career Trek, a program designed especially for younger ages that introduces key, evidence-based career development concepts! For more information, email Chrissy.Bashore@dese.mo.gov
  • Supports for Remote Teaching and Learning:Staff in DESE’s Office of College and Career Readiness ​compiled helpful teaching and learning resources for Missouri educators, students and parents who are operating remotely due to COVID-19. Information is broken down by subject area, and includes online, offline and hybrid options. An additional page of information has been created for Career & Technical Education content areas as well. Resources will continue to be added.
  • MOCAP Virtual Education Resources: It is important to emphasize that schools may have options for alternate educational opportunities. Schools may wish to implement virtual learning through a new or expanded contract with a vendor. See more information and guidance here on the MOCAP website.​
  • Using Federal Funds for Technology Equipment: Computers, tablets, modems, hotspots, etc. are allowable expenses under Title IV. A. and Title V. Title IV.A. allows for the purchase of technology for either “Access to a Well-Rounded Education” or “Individual Learning using Technology.” Title V (Rural and Low-Income Schools) allow for technology purchases. Budgets must be amended prior to obligation of funds. Purchasing equipment, such as connections in/to a child’s home that would ultimately be owned by a private citizen, is not an allowable expense.
Resources for Non-Public Schools
School Food and Nutrition Services

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
For households with children who attend a school that’s closed and who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals, an application is being developed to provide a meal-replacement benefit through SNAP under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. This new P-EBT provision can compensate families for the cost of the meals their children are missing out on because their schools are closed. USDA is providing guidance to state agencies on plan requirements in order to receive approval. DESE will share information and application details as soon as they are available. Read more from USDA about the Pandemic EBT here.

Please note that DESE Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) has worked with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to update the DSS Family Support Division recording and the information being shared about P-EBT. This message previously instructed families to contact their local school district. The message has been revised to say the following: “This benefit is not yet available. You will be contacted to apply when applications are available.”​​

  • ​​​FNS Disaster information page
  • COVID Questions & Answers for FNS (Updated March 31)
  • FNS recently applied for two waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FNS. The waivers aim to support schools and communities in providing meals to children in areas experiencing school closures in response to COVID-19. Those waivers were approved Sunday, March 15. ​Administrative Memo FAS-20-001 issued on March 16 addresses these waivers. 

Pursuant to section 2202(a) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) (P.L. 116-127), and in light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19, USDA FNS has established the following additional nationwide waivers, available to schools that elect to use them, through June 30 or upon expiration of the federally declared public health emergency:​

  • Meal Pattern Waiver: Schools may apply here to waive specific meal pattern requirements, as needed, to support access to nutritious meals when certain foods are not available during this emergency.
  • Meal Times Waiver: USDA FNS has provided a nationwide waiver to support access to nutritious meals outside of the designated meal periods to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • Parent/Guardian Meal Pickup Waiver: This waiver allows parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children without the child being present, as long as schools protect the accountability and integrity of the program. No application required.
  • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Data Waiver: The CEP deadlines are being extended for reporting SY 2019-20 student counts to establish SY 2020-21’s identified student percentage for CEP, as well as for the required notifications and CEP election. No application required.
  • Activity Requirement in Afterschool Care Waiver: The requirement for an educational or enrichment activity when serving an afternoon meal/snack under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or Child and Adult Care Food Program has been waived. This applies to afterschool snacks in the NSLP for schools who currently participate in the Afterschool Snack Program. No application required.
  • Waivers of Child Nutrition Monitoring: USDA FNS has issued flexibility to waive certain onsite monitoring requirements for the school meals programs to maintain program integrity and support social distancing while providing meals.
  • State Aid for Transportation of Pupils: Section 163.161.1, ​RSMo: “Any school district which makes provision for transporting pupils as provided in section 162.621 and sections 167.231 and 167.241 shall receive state aid for the ensuing year for such transportation on the basis of the cost of pupil transportation services provided the current year. A district shall receive, pursuant to section 163.031, an amount not greater than seventy-five percent of the allowable costs of providing pupil transportation services to and from school and to and from public accredited vocational courses, and shall not receive an amount per pupil greater than one hundred twenty-five percent of the state average approved cost per pupil transported the second preceding school year, except when the state board of education determines that sufficient circumstances exist to authorize amounts in excess of the one hundred twenty-five percent of the state average approved cost per pupil transported the second previous year.”
    • This waiver means the miles driven by school buses that are delivering food and/or remote learning opportunities to students, and/or providing Wi-Fi near students’ homes, are allowable transportation costs (under the district’s emergency preparedness plan) and may now be reported as eligible route miles on the Application for State Transportation Aid. Amid COVID-19 school closures, schools are now taking school to Missouri students, instead of bringing students to school.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and DESE have received questions from FNS officials asking how their programs and operations could be impacted as a result of COVID-19. At this time, continue normal program operations. If a public health emergency happens in your community, such as an outbreak of COVID-19, USDA Foods currently in your local inventory can be used as an emergency feeding source for your community without prior approval or permission from DESE Food and Nutrition Services. Information about that decision-making can be reviewed on the USDA Foods During Disaster fact sheet here. Within 45 days of an emergency feeding, local FNS officials will submit to DESE FNS via email the total amount of products that need to be replaced. DESE FNS officials will then work with local SFAs to gather additional information needed, such as the disaster rate, total number of persons receiving USDA Foods, the period those foods were issued, etc. The USDA Foods used will be replaced with another like product or, in some cases, credit entitlement for the value of the food used. The USDA Food Program Disaster Manual here provides FNS officials key information about this process. DESE encourages FNS officials to review this information as a precautionary measure, specifically: page 21 (School Food Authority Disaster Preparation information), page 32 (Procedures for the Replacement and Reporting of USDA Foods), and page 73 (Disaster preparation recommendations). See full memo.​​
Special Education Information & Guidance

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.

State Operated Schools

As part of Governor Mike Parson's announcement on Thursday, April 9 regarding school closures, the Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled, Missouri School for the Blind and Missouri School for the Deaf are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Families will receive additional information from school leaders. 

Statutory Waivers

The Governor issued one statutory and regulatory waiver in Executive Order 20-04 and DESE issued two Administrative Memos to announce a number of statutory waivers approved by Governor Parson, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To review that information, see EO 20-04 issued on March 13, Administrative Memo COM-20-002 released on April 3, and Administrative Memo COM-20-004 released on June 25.

A number of those waivers are now terminated, while a few still remain in effect through the State of Emergency, which now ends December 31, 2020.

One statutory waiver (by EO 20-04) was terminated June 15, 2020, by EO 20-12:

  • Teacher certification with regard to qualify scores on exit examinations and culminating clinical experience – Section 161.210, RSMo, 5 CSR 20-400.330, 500-560, 590-610, and 640.

The following statutory waivers were terminated on June 30:

  • CPR and Heimlich Maneuver Training – Section 170.310.1, RSMo
  • Missouri and U.S. Constitutions – Section 170.011.3, RSMo Missouri Civics Education Initiative – Sections 170.345.2 and 170.345.3, RSMo
  • Reading Assessments – Section 167.645.2, RSMo End of Year Dyslexia Testing – Section 167.950.1(2) RSMo
  • Physical Fitness Assessments and Awards – Sections 161.450.2 and 167.720, RSMo
  • Certificated Teachers – Contract Notification for Re-Employment by April 15 – Section 168.101.3, RSMo
  • Notification Timeline Extensions (Indefinite Teacher Contracts) – Section 168.110, RSMo
  • Notification Timeline Extensions (Probationary Teachers) – Section 168.126.2 and .3, RSMo
  • Notification Timeline Extensions (Probationary Teacher – Metropolitan School Districts) – Section 168.221.1, RSMo
  • Use of Professional Development Funds – Section 160.530, RSMo

The following statutory waivers remain in effect:

  • Hearings for Unaccredited or Provisionally Accredited Districts – Section 162.081.2, RSMo (Aug. 31, 2020)
  • Transfers to and from the Incidental Fund – Section 165.011, RSMo (Dec. 31, 2020)
  • Use of School Buses – Section 163.161.1, RSMo (Dec. 31, 2020)
  • Hold Harmless Districts Exempt from Withholdings –Section 163.031.7, RSMo
Summer School
  • May 28: To access the 2019-20 Attendance Hours Forgiveness Letter Form, Summer School Minimum Hour Waiver Form and/or Start Date Law Exemption Request Form, school leaders should visit the MCDS Portal and click on the Login button in the upper right corner. After logging in, under State of Missouri, click on Reports and Resources, and then scroll down to COVID-19 Forms (in the Districts, Charters & Schools category on the left side bar).​
  • May 4: DESE provided additional information to school leaders about claiming attendance hours for 2020 summer school in this document.
  • April 23: DESE recently convened a Summer School Task Force, comprised of school leaders from across the state, to discuss 2020 summer school questions and the options available to school leaders amid COVID-19 and public health orders. DESE received three recommendations from the Summer School Task Force in how best to support schools as they develop their summer school plans. Those recommendations are outlined here in Administrative Memo QS-20-005. More detailed summer school information can also be found in the COVID-19 and Summer School 2020 Questions and Answers document.​
Sunshine Law Guidance during Emergency
Task Force for Learning Acceleration

The United States has never faced a disruption of schooling like it has experienced during the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, there is no template for recovery that we might use to guide our decisions about returning to school.  To address this situation, DESE has organized a Task Force for Learning Acceleration with a charge to provide strategic guidance and vision to help schools plan for re-entry in the fall. DESE is facilitating a collaborative platform for idea sharing, a safe place for brainstorming and the development of innovative solutions that can be shared across the state.The volunteers serving on the Task Force are a diverse group of people from all around the state who serve in different roles and positions and represent different points of view. They are organized into the three workgroups, listed below.

  • Assessment of Learning Loss: This group will provide recommendations for assessing learning loss as a result of the extended school closures in spring 2020. Topics will include measuring instructional progress, variances in local pacing, systemic sources of data and formative assessment tools.
  • Acceleration of Learning: This group will provide recommendations for accelerating learning with a focus on the 2020-21 school year. Lessons learned and evidence-based strategies for learning acceleration, such as the identification of the most important learning standards that are prerequisites for future learning and the use of available assessment data will be discussed.
  • Reaching all Students: This group will provide recommendations for reaching all students with strategies to accelerate learning. This will include discussions of equity, meeting the needs of Missouri’s most vulnerable, economically challenged students, students in the primary grades and responses to the social-emotional needs of students and educators.

The Task Force for Learning Acceleration will make its recommendations this summer, in time for schools to incorporate the ideas for the start of the 2020-21 school year. Click here for more information.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Disability Determinations
Year-End Guidance for Schools

Seamless Summer Options (SSO) Meal Locations - Map

DESE has developed a map detailing meal distribution information across the state through the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program. Hover over any local school district or charter school to learn more details about that location’s meal service procedures.