Return to School FAQ

Posted on 08/28/2020
Welcome 3

Frequently Asked Question

Regarding HPS Return to School Guidance Plan

August 28, 2020


The Hannibal Board of Education has made some revisions to the Hannibal School District Return to Guidance plan this week.  To clear up any miscommunication, I wanted to share with you any of those changes and the reason for those changes.  


Why did the decision to delay the start of school?  There were 2 main reasons why the Superintendent recommended to the Board of Education that the start of school be delayed until September 8, 2020.

  1. Safety - Although the plan that the Board initially adopted contained guidelines for determining when or if a building or district closes for positive cases of COVID, the Harvard Global Health Institute COVID Risk Level Method was also approved for use.  This method takes into consideration new active cases and hospitalizations for residents in Marion and Rall counties.  Upon retrieving the data to help determine the risk in our school counties, it showed that the risk level fell in a zone in which community spread was a concern.  Therefore, this would recommend that if we maintained August 26, 2020 as the first day of school, we wouldn’t be able to start school with in person learning which is by far the most effective method of learning. 

  1. In Person Learning is the preferred method of learning - I think most teachers and parents would agree that teaching and learning from home is a challenge.  Some might even say that we need to do anything we can to attempt in person learning so our kids can receive the best education possible so they do not fall further behind.  Although the Hannibal School District may have to utilize distance learning at some point this school year, delaying the start of the school year and beginning on September 8th would allow us to have some opportunity to have our kids in our schools safely.  Although there were no guarantees, we certainly had a much better possibility of being able to provide in person learning if we delayed the start of school.

Did the delayed start of the school year have anything to do with Chromebooks?  NO;  see above.  Even if we would’ve chosen to start the school year as originally planned on August 26th, our guidelines at that time  would have indicated that kids would have remained home and teachers would teach remotely.  We could have done that but we would have needed to provide paper packets to some students/grades because we are awaiting the remainder of our July 7th order of Chromebooks.  We submitted an order for 1,000 Chromebooks so our school district could be a 1 to 1 district.   550 Chromebooks came in on time but the remainder of the order has been backed ordered and is currently on its way to our school district. 

Did the delayed start of the school year cause our students to lose instruction?  No; the calendar was amended and 4 days throughout the school year which were originally going to be days that students were out of session while teachers attended professional development will not be days in which students are in session.

Were parents inconvenienced when the start date of school was moved to September 8, 2020? 

If we would have kept the first day of school on August 26th, parents would have still had childcare issues because students would have learned from home.

What revisions did the Board of Education make to the Hannibal School District Return to School Guidance plan?

  1. Discontinue the use of the Harvard Global Health Institute Method and resume our original guidelines - The Board of Education voted unanimously to utilize our original guidelines to determine when our school district would close.  The Board felt that the data used in the previous method was not a good indicator, especially with hospitalizations.  
  2. All students in K-12 should be required to wear a face mask or face shield when unable to social distance without another barrier protecting the student.  There may be circumstances when a student is unable to wear a face covering due to a disability or if the IEP team or physician indicates that this is not in the students best interest.  Face coverings will not be required while eating and while at recess.

What are the guidelines for determining when our school/district should close?  If over 5% of the student body in a building or district tests positive any day, 4% tests positive over 2 days in a row or 3% test positive for 3 days in a row, then that building or district closes for 10 days.

What revisions did the Board of Education make to the Hannibal School District Opening Athletics/Activities plan?  When the decision to use the original guidelines rather than the Harvard Global method, the Board unanimously agreed that all athletics/activities should resume in accordance with the Hannibal School District Return to Guidance plan.  


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