Weather Alert

Missouri Education Boards Keeps 36-Hour Virtual Learning Rule

Some Missouri school districts struggling with staff absences due to COVID-19 face difficult decisions about how to provide the required number of instruction hours while being limited in the number of hours of virtual learning permitted.

The state allows school districts to provide 36 hours of alternative instruction out of the 1,044 total hours of instruction required each school year. That amounts to about 1 week of alternative instruction.

Districts that close temporarily because of staff absences could be required to extend the school year to meet the 1,044 hour requirement.

The State Board of Education maintained the 36-hour limit on Tuesday after hearing a presentation about the problem.

Mallory McGowin, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, acknowledged many schools currently are struggling to find enough staff for in-person learning. But she said education officials continue to believe schools are among the safest places for most Missouri students.

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