DESE-Related Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
As the 2020-21 school year draws to and end, some information has been archived here.
To visit the live COVID-19 information page, please click here.
- 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
- QS-20-013 | Monitoring of AMI-X Plan Implementation
- QS-20-011 | Distanced Learning - 4/1 Plans
- FAS-20-010 | Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Grants – Revised Timelines
- CCR-20-002 | Alive and Well Communities Address Social-Emotional Learning
- FAS-20-009 | Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Grants
- QS-20-010 | 2020-21 School Year Information
- EQ-20-001 | Missouri Statutes Waived to Address Potential Substitute Shortage
- QS-20-009 | Missouri Student Connectivity Grant
- FAS-20-007 | Updated Information on July Payment to Schools
- QS-20-008 | Approach to Providing Equitable Services with ESSER Funds
- QS-20-007 | Attendance Changes for the 2020-21 School Year
- FAS-20-006 | FY21 Budget Restrictions Announced
- COM-20-004 | Additional Missouri Statutes Waived Due to COVID-19
- FAS-20-005 | Additional FY20 Budget Restrictions
- COM-20-001 | COVID-19 Information for Missouri Public Schools
- COM-20-002 | Missouri Statutes Waived Due to COVID-19
- COM-20-003 | More Missouri Statutes Waived Due to COVID-19
- FAS-20-001 | COVID-19 School Closure USDA Waivers
- FAS-20-002 | Attendance Reporting, Calendar and PDC Spending
- FAS-20-003 | Expenditure Restrictions
- QS-20-004 | Waiver Request for Flexibility of K-12 Educational Funds
- QS-20-005 | Summer School Task Force Recommendations & DESE Guidance
- DESE officials have examined the impact of cancelling spring 2020 testing, specifically on local education agencies and 2020 graduating seniors. Read the new information here.
- DESE hosted a webinar for public school leaders on Wednesday, April 1 to share important department updates related to COVID-19. Follow these links to view the PowerPoint and follow-up email sent after the webinar.
- DESE’s March 13 Webinar FAQs
A+ Algebra I End of Course Exam Requirement for 2021 Seniors
The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) previously issued guidance related to A+ eligibility for the senior class of 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That previous guidance indicated that the 2021 seniors must continue to score proficient or advanced on the Algebra I End-of-Course Exam, or a higher level math EOC, or achieve a combination of high school grade point average and ACT math subscore that meets the sliding scale alternative to the EOC requirement. The guidance also indicated the department would continue to monitor the situation and would provide additional guidance as needed. Upon further review of the situation, we have decided it is appropriate to extend the Algebra I EOC waiver that was granted to the class of 2020 to the class of 2021. As a result, the 2021 seniors will not be required to meet either the Algebra I EOC requirement or its alternative to qualify for the A+ Scholarship. Read the complete announcement from MDHEWD here.
- Alternative Methods of Instruction
- July 23 Webinar Information: Slides || Recording
- Administrative Memo QS-20-007 -- Attendance Changes for the 2020-21 School Year
- Antigen Testing Program
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or questions regarding supplemental funding availability or visit the DHSS website here.
May 24: We’re excited to share that 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. Schools are able to continue to place reorders for more tests for the coming 2021-22 school year. The program is also open to new applicants at any point in time moving forward.
- DHSS/DESE K-12 Antigen Testing Program Guidance Document
- 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.
- Antigen Testing Program Hub
- Antigen Test Recoupment Form
- Antigen Program Application Form
- Antigen Test Reorder Form
K-12 Antigen Testing Program Guidance Document Updates
The K-12 Antigen Testing Program guidance document was recently refreshed with key information. Please look for the green flag icon to draw your attention to the most recent updates. Several of those key updates are explained further below.
New DHSS Standing Order for Asymptomatic Testing
One of the updates in the recently revised toolkit is a new standing order from DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams that allows the use of the BinaxNOW tests on asymptomatic individuals in schools (see Appendix B in the K-12 Antigen Testing Program guidance). As COVID-19 vaccines continue to become more widely available, it is important to remember that the other preventative measures taken over the past year have not diminished in the fight against this virus. COVID-19 testing continues to be one of those important preventative strategies. It is important to note that schools are not required to begin testing asymptomatic students and staff, but your antigen testing plans could evolve to include this new option to provide the data and evidence to support your safe reopening and operating efforts.
BinaxNOW Expiration Dates Extended
May 10: Abbott, the BinaxNOW manufacturer, extended the expiration dates for more lot numbers. The listed tests are now usable until 12 months past their manufacturing date. This letter from Abbott lists all of the lot numbers that are now eligible for the extension. Please read the list carefully to determine if the lot numbers listed on your test kit boxes are among the list. Please note that these lot numbers refer to the numbers on the outside of the box, not on the individual test kits. DHSS has updated our K-12 Antigen Testing Program guidance document to reflect this change. For boxes that do not qualify for an extended expiration date, please keep the boxes of tests and clearly label them as expired. These tests can be stored and used for training new staff members. If you have a large amount of tests that are set to expire soon, you could take advantage of the option to test asymptomatic students and staff and use that soon-to-expire inventory quickly. We would also like to remind each of you as the school year comes to a close if you would like more tests for the beginning of the school year, submit a reorder form shortly (less than a week) before your return to school.
The state is still awaiting final CDC grant approval and appropriations authority from the Missouri legislature to confirm that the antigen testing program can continue through June 2022. We will provide an update to you as soon as possible.
March 8: Abbott, the company that manufactures the BinaxNOW antigen tests, released information recently to say the company’s ongoing product testing supports extending the shelf-life of the antigen test kits. This means that you can add three (3) months to the expiration date listed on the box. Tests now expire nine (9) months after their manufactured date, as opposed to six (6) months as originally listed/communicated. This change applies to certain Lot numbers – and our inventory indicates that a large portion of the inventory already shipped to K-12 schools is made up of these Lot numbers. To verify your inventory is eligible for this expiration date extension, please review the Lot numbers listed on the document linked above. These are the only Lot numbers eligible for the expiration date extension at this time.
If your district/school will be able to use the test kits prior to this newly extended expiration date, you are welcome to keep the tests onsite. DESE will share more information in the coming weeks about how the K-12 Antigen Testing Program will proceed for summer school and school year 2021-22.
New DESE Point of Contact
Staff that are part of the Missouri Healthy Schools grant program will assume the role of managing the K-12 Antigen Testing Program beginning April 12. We wanted to find a more permanent “home” for this program within our agency because we’re excited to share there is funding available to Missouri to continue providing rapid antigen tests to public and private schools through June 2022, pending legislative approval. We have created a new email account for all antigen testing related inquiries and assistance. Please save AntigenTesting@dese.mo.gov in your contact list as all future antigen program communications will be sent from that account.
New Processes for Reordering, Recouping and Applying
We are happy to announce that there are now online forms available to streamline several of our processes.
If you wish to have tests recouped from your school, please fill out our new recoupment form here. To initiate an order for more tests, please fill out this reorder form here. We ask that you evaluate how many tests you will need for the next 45 days when submitting an order for more tests. We will contact you with any questions about your form. We are now making it possible for any/all schools/districts to apply to join the antigen testing program at any time by using the application link.
The federal government has prioritized public and private K-12 districts/schools to receive Abbott’s BinaxNOW rapid antigen test kits to test symptomatic school personnel and students for COVID-19. This minimally invasive nasal swab test must be administered by a health professional (e.g. a school nurse), and yields results in just 15 minutes. While the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) still believes it is important for people who are sick to stay home from school, our organization recognizes how valuable these tests can be, especially during cold and flu season, to quickly identify if an individual’s mild symptoms are COVID-19 or not. DESE is thankful to our partners at the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) helping to make this opportunity possible for interested districts/schools.
- 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.
- Broadband Access & Digital Divide
- The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has opened the Missouri Student Connectivity (MSC) Grant to address the digital divide for Missouri students, knowing that about one in five students did not have access to online learning opportunities when school buildings were closed last spring. DESE is now accepting applications for the MSC grant, which has two components: the Access project (MSC-A) and the Connections (MSC-C) project. These two projects have the combined purpose of increasing students’ access to both the internet and to digital learning resources by expanding school Wi-Fi networks and providing Wi-Fi enabled devices for students. Read more via Administrative Memo QS-20-009 here.
- Report on Internet Connectivity Survey
- Calendars, Finance and Funding
- Administrative Memos for Financial and Administrative Services since June 30, 2020 can be found here:
- September 8: Special Education Finance Maintenance of Effort (MOE) and COVID-19 FAQ
- 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
- Coding COVID-19-Related Absences: Any student absence related to COVID-19 would be coded/entered like any other student absence related to illness.
- 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.
- 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
Youth Sports During COVID-19: With youth sports returning in conjunction with the start of the school year, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released two helpful documents to help families prepare for returning to competition.
- Schools and Childcare Programs Information
- School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers and Guardians
- Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians and Caregivers
- Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020
- Handwashing Information
- Travel Guidance
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Website and Hotline: DHSS's COVID-19 webpage contains any and all COVID-19-related information for Missourians, and is updated frequently. DESE officials remain in close communication with colleagues at DHSS to stay informed about COVID-19 and the current situation in Missouri. DHSS has activated a statewide public hotline - 877-435-8411 - for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. It is operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
DHSS has made COVID-19 fact sheets available in multiple languages.
- Childcare Message for School Administrators
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.
- 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.
- COVID-19 2020 Response Efforts
For a downloadable version of the COVID-19 2020 Response Efforts Infographic, click here.
- COVID-19 Messages for Children
- A recent video from Mayo Clinic can help prepare children for a COVID-19 nasal swab test and ease some of their potential fear and anxiety. When children are prepared to take a medical test, they become more cooperative and compliant, which creates a positive coping experience for them. This video is suitable for children as young as four years old.
- For the 2020-21 school year, we know that students and educators across the state can't wait to be together at school again when it's safe to do so, even if things look different because of COVID-19. See this full video for students as they prepare for returning to school this fall. (Also available with Spanish captions)
- 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.
- COVID Relief
DESE has compiled all COVID Relief information onto a new webpage. That information, along with Department contact information, can be found here.
Federal Relief Funds Webinar (4-14-21)
CARES Act Grants Webinar (8-27-20)
- Educator Preparation and Certification
State Board of Education Approves Alternative Route to Obtain Substitute Certificate: Through both a proposed amendment and an emergency rule, the Missouri State Board of Education approved an alternative route for individuals to obtain a substitute certificate of license to teach. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requested an additional path after consulting with education groups to help address the shortage of substitute teachers throughout the state.
- Currently, individuals looking to obtain a substitute certificate must complete 60 semester hours or more of college-level credit from a DESE-recognized and regionally accredited academic degree granting institution. Individuals who possess a high school diploma or equivalent may complete a 20-hour state-approved substitute teacher online training to be eligible for a substitute certificate. The training includes topics such as professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, supporting students with special needs, and working with at-risk youth. Learn more by visiting the DESE Substitute Teacher page here.
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.
- Event Updates and Cancellations
FBLA-PBL: Missouri FBLA-PBL has cancelled the Show Me Leadership Conferences (SMLCs), set to be held on October 3, 10, and 17 in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Branson, respectively. An alternate program, the Blast Off Box (BOB) will be made available in place of SMLCs for 2020. More information on the Blast Off Box will be made available to chapters on August 28.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Governor Parson Announces Schools Closed for the Year
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 was extended to July 15.
- 2019-20 evaluation surveys and documentation collection was 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 was extended to June 15
- DESSA Staff Time 2 assessment for 2019-20 was 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 was extended to May 15.
- 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 email@example.com.
- The deadline for Summer School applications was extended to June 1.
- Mental Health/Counselor Information
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has partnered with Alive and Well Communities to provide additional guidance documents, training sessions and engagement strategies for educators regarding social-emotional learning and development. As schools begin the 2020-21 school year, administrators are welcoming back students and staff members who may have experienced unprecedented trauma due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To learn more, see Administrative Memo CCR-20-002.
Department of Mental Health Information: The Missouri Department of Mental Health Disaster Services has articles and resources for managing the stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19.
- 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 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
- Operating Guidance for Schools
Operating Guidance for Schools
DHSS and DESE have compiled the Missouri School COVID-19 Operating Guidance document. Information previously found in DHSS’ Guidance for Assessing COVID-19 Exposures and Defining Close Contacts in a School Setting document is now contained in the main/primary DHSS/DESE guidance document, allowing all information to be found in one place.
The section regarding guidance for assessing exposures and recommendations regarding quarantine of close contacts includes the following key additions:Option 4 – Test to Stay: See pg. 5 for complete details about the Test to Stay Option that enables a close contact to continue activities during the quarantine period through participation in frequent testing. The Test to Stay Option provides LPHAs and LEAs an additional option to consider for persons who do not meet current options for staying in school following an exposure to COVID-19 in the K-12 setting. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): See pg. 7 for FAQs and their responses, covering topics including, but not limited to: at home tests, antibody tests, and the use of ShowMeVax. Resources and Tools: See pgs. 12-15 for resources, including the DHSS/DESE graphic and flowchart that describe the recommended scenario-based options for quarantine as outlined in the updated guidance document, including the Test to Stay Option.
In December 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released two studies around Test to Stay programs and, as a result, updated its guidance for schools to reflect the use of Test to Stay. Here are the links to review the new information from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and the CDC:Test to Stay in LA County (MMWR) Test to Stay in Lake County, IL (MMWR) Updated webpage on COVID-19 Testing in Schools (CDC) Updated Science Brief (CDC) Updated banner on K-12 guidance (CDC) FAQs for School Administrators (CDC)
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:CDC Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention CDC Science Brief: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in K-12 Schools USED COVID-19 Handbook:
- Parents as Teachers & First Steps Programs
- This Dear Colleague Letter from the Administration for Children and Families' Offices of Early Childhood Development, Head Start, Childcare, Children's Bureau and by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provides examples of actions to support families during this challenging time and various links to resources and sample COVID-19 policies for programs serving young children.
- In an effort to provide schools with the flexibility to continue the delivery of the Parents as Teachers (PAT) personal visits in a safe and healthy manner, we are providing a guidance for programs who may want to explore conducting visits virtually. That information, plus other schedule updates, can be found via the following document.
- Questions and Answers for Parents as Teachers Virtual Service Delivery and End-of-Year Reporting
- Remote Teaching/Learning Resources & Alternate Educational Opportunities
August 20, 2020 MOCAP Webinar: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in virtual education options for students. In this webinar, DESE provided information on the Missouri Online Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP), including requirements for school districts and charter schools.
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.
- Reopening & Operating Guidance for Schools
Decisions to open Missouri schools, along with the methods/patterns of instruction being used during the 2020-21 school year, are made by local school leaders and local boards of education. There are currently no statewide health mandates related to K-12 schools.
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and DESE have released a document that answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about K-12 school reopening and operating during the pandemic. 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 as necessary.
February 17: CDC & USED Release New School Reopening & Operating Guidance
New guidance documents and resources related to school reopening and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic were released last week by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Those resources are linked here, with additional details provided below.
- CDC Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation
- CDC Operational Strategy Summary Fact Sheet (PDF)
- CDC Science Brief: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in K-12 Schools
- USED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools
New CDC Operational Strategy Documents
The CDC refers to these new documents as a “one-stop-shop” for schools to use in opening for in-person instruction and staying open. Please note that much of the CDC guidance is not new or different from what CDC has issued around school reopening in the past; instead, it is put in one place and intended to be used as a roadmap for ongoing work. Among the highlights of the CDC Operational Strategy:
- Evidence that shows schools can safely reopen for in-person instruction when health and safety protocols are in place and based in science
- A recommendation that schools prioritize two key mitigation strategies: universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing
- Clarification on the community risk indicators to inform reopening and link directly to information on community transmission
- Acknowledgment that many schools are already providing in-person instruction and should continue to do so in accordance with health and safety protocols
The CDC also addresses the vaccine in this new document, noting that it is recommended that educators and school staff members be prioritized to receive the vaccine as soon as the supply allows (K-12 educators and school personnel are prioritized in Phase 1B-Tier 3 of Missouri’s availability plan). The CDC guidance also adds, “Access to vaccination should not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue mitigation measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks in schools and physical distancing.”
USED COVID-19 Handbook
The first volume of USED’s new COVID-19 Handbook serves as a supplement to the new CDC operational strategy with practical recommendations for the school setting. It covers 11 topic areas, with practical examples and roadmaps to provide educators and staff with the tools they need to implement the CDC's recommended safe practices for in-person learning. The second volume of the USED Handbook, which should be published in the coming weeks, will provide specific strategies to address the unprecedented disruption COVID-19 created for students, educators and parents — especially for historically underserved students and communities that preliminary data suggest have been hit hardest by the pandemic. It is important to note that this USED Handbook does not have the force or effect of law and is not binding in any way (except where statutory or regulatory requirements are referenced).
August 13, 2020: DESE and DHSS have posted two additional documents regarding contact tracing
August 7, 2020: 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:
Missouri Hospital Association Partners with DESE on Special Projects: The Missouri Hospital Association, in partnership with DESE and other organizations, has developed two promotional pieces for schools to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the classroom.
- A Tips for Teachers document provides not only simple preventative measures educators can implement, but also helpful information about how to safely put on and remove personal protective equipment, including face coverings. School leaders are encouraged to share this graphic with their staff.
- Evade! Destroy! Defend! The "Be a Hero and MASK UP!" campaign reminds students that they can be superheroes and use their own powers to vanquish COVID-19 in their schools and communities. Information is available in both English and Spanish.
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, 2020: 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. 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.
May 22, 2020 / CDC Guidance: The CDC released the following guidance documents and tools to assist school leaders in making reopening decisions for K-12 schools:
- CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President's Plan for Opening America Up Again (pages 45-48)
- CDC Reopening Schools Decision Tool
- Considerations for Schools
May 12, 2020: 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, 2020: 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.
- Resources for Non-Public Schools
- Missouri Chapter - Council for American Private Education
- National Association of Independent Schools
- United States Small Business Administration
- United States Department of Labor
- 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 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.
- Statutory Waivers
Executive Order 21-09, which declared a State of Emergency due to COVID-19, expired on December 31, 2021. Therefore, the following education-related statutory waivers are now terminated:
- 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
With the expiration of the Retired Member of PSRS/PEERS waiver, the counting period for the 550 hour limit will begin January 1, 2022, and continue through June 30, 2022.
The following education-related statutory waivers were previously terminated:
- Hearings for Unaccredited or Provisionally Accredited — Section 162.081.2, RSMo
- 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 and 5 CSR 30-4.030
- 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
- Missouri School Boards' Association Guidance: How to Hold an Emergency Meeting and Comply with the Sunshine Law
- Missouri Attorney General's Office Guidance: Sunshine Law Guidance for Public Governmental Bodies During a Public Health Crisis or State of 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.
- Vaccine Information
January 14: The State of Missouri announced new details today about Phase 1B of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine availability plan. View the announcement from the Governor’s Office here. Phase 1B now includes tiers for prioritization. Read complete details about the Phase 1B Tiers here at MOStopsCOVID.com. These groups include:
- Tier 1: first responders, emergency services and public health
- Tier 2: Missourians who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including individuals over age 65 as well as any adult who suffers from certain underlying conditions
- Tier 3: critical infrastructure workforce members, including teachers and school staff members
By definition, the “Education K-12” group listed in Phase 1B – Tier 3 includes anyone who works for a public or a private school. The State is not differentiating between teachers and other support staff positions. This also includes those individuals who provide contract services to schools across the state, including, but not limited to substitute teachers, bus drivers, therapists, food service workers, custodians, etc. In-person learning is crucial for many of our students and their families – and it takes all of these individuals and their unique roles to do that effectively.
It is important to note that any teachers or school staff members who qualify for Tier 2 may receive the vaccine then; their membership in the Tier 2 prioritization supersedes their membership in Tier 3.
TIMELINE & LOGISTICS
Today’s announcement included notice that Phase 1B – Tier 1 is now activated. Tier 2 will activate on Monday, January 18. There is not yet a clear timeline as to when the state will transition to Phase 1B – Tier 3, as that is entirely dependent on the state’s vaccine supply.
To be as prepared as possible for when the state does transition to Tier 3, we urge school leaders to reach out to their local health department – or a hospital or health system in their area – to begin developing their implementation plans at the local district level to make vaccines available for their employees – if they have not done so already. The State has developed additional “Business and Organization Resources” here at MOStopsCOVID.com, including how you may be able to enroll as a vaccinator to conduct onsite vaccinations for employees. There is also an Employer Playbook that will be available soon to help provide decision-makers additional logistical support.
As DESE shared on the Jan. 6 webinar, the logistics surrounding where and how vaccinations will take place for school personnel across the state will likely look very different based on the size and location of that school district or community.
- In some districts, school staff members may be instructed to participate in a vaccination clinic that’s hosted by a local healthcare provider at a site within their community, or even at their school.
- In other districts, staff members will need to travel to the nearest pharmacy location administering vaccines.
- In some districts, school nurses may be able to become vaccinators and administer the vaccine to staff members in their buildings.
A map showing vaccine providers across the state is now available here at MOStopsCOVID.com. Please note that: 1) these are vaccine providers for those Missourians in Phase 1A, Phase 1B – Tier 1 and Phase 1B – Tier 2; and 2) because Missouri is still experiencing a limited supply of vaccines, many vaccine providers found on the map are still awaiting supplies from the federal government.
The State has developed additional information on how an individual will access the COVID-19 vaccine, whether you are going to the vaccine or the vaccine is coming to you. As mentioned above, both scenarios will likely apply to K-12 stakeholders within Tier 3, based on the approach of your Regional Implementation Team. You can review that information here.
The verification or identification K-12 stakeholders will provide to receive the vaccine will look different based on what logistics model your local system uses. Please work with your vaccinator to determine those details.
- Per the state’s vaccine availability plan, the only K-12 education stakeholders that fall within Phase 1A are our school nurses. Your school nurses should contact your local health department or a local pharmacy, hospital or healthcare system to obtain their vaccine. Again, the list of current vaccinators for Phase 1A stakeholders will be available at MOStopsCOVID.com tomorrow. It is important to note that individuals in Phase 1A will continue to be vaccinated as the state moves on to activating additional priority phases.
- There are no plans at the state level to make the COVID vaccine mandatory for students or school staff members.
- Having this vaccine available for school personnel will provide an added layer of protection and will greatly assist in keeping our school buildings open for our students. That said, schools must remain vigilant in continuing to follow the other necessary COVID-19 mitigation strategies, including wearing a mask, watching physical distance between people and reinforcing proper hand hygiene.
- Veteran's Education
Due to COVID-19, starting November 23, 2020, in-person services at VE facilities will be provided by appointment only. All other VE services will be provided virtually. Please find local office phone and email information below.
- Webinars Hosted
Need special assistance to access this content? Submit a request here to receive a captioned video or transcript.
October 1: DESE and DHSS hosted a COVID-19 update for K-12 schools, discussing contact tracing, the student COVID-19 case dashboard and other timely information. The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.
September 9: DESE and DHSS hosted a webinar for school leaders, school nurses and LPHAs to share clarifying information from the state level and address new questions from the field. The slides from the webinar can be viewed here.
August 13: DESE and DHSS have posted two additional documents regarding contact tracing: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:
- Year-End Guidance for Schools
This map is no longer being updated as of June 14, 2021