Blaine’s Bulletin: Back to School
Washington, August 19, 2021
Summer is winding down, and after a fun-filled few months of family trips, camps, summer jobs, and spending a little extra time together, it is time for Missouri students to return to school. Back-to-school season is always an exciting time of year. School sports start back up, the kids get to see friends they’ve missed over the summer, and, of course, the exciting challenge they face in the classroom as they begin new classes with new teachers.
Fortunately, here in Missouri, this should be a normal return to school for most students and teachers this year. The pandemic – and countless studies— have shown us how important in-person learning is for students’ academic, physical, and emotional well-being and I am so grateful our students are headed back to the classroom as usual this fall. We have seen the flip side and can now say more confidently than ever that face-to-face learning is essential for students’ success. From the kindergartner who will learn developmental skills and fundamentals like their ABC’s, to the high school junior working tirelessly to get into their top college choice, school is the most important place these kids can be. And the socialization, comradery, and extra-curricular opportunities school offers are wonderful ways for students to get involved in the community and make lifelong friends while they learn.
Teachers have always been valued members of our communities, but the pandemic deepened Missourians’ appreciation for teachers exponentially. Schools shut down for several months forcing teachers to quickly adapt to distance learning and figure out creative ways to help students from afar and keep them engaged. I have heard countless stories of Missouri teachers who have gone above and beyond to ensure students didn’t fall behind. Our state is so fortunate to have these wonderful people molding young minds and preparing tomorrow’s leaders for bright futures.
Safely allowing our state’s students to have a sense of normalcy this year at school is exactly what most children (and their parents!) need. Last year, we passed the CARES Act to provide America’s schools with all the necessary resources to continue learning safely in-person and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Health and Senior Services have worked hard to distribute this funding to Missouri school districts. These resources will help this be both a productive and healthy school year for all students, teachers, and families involved. For information on what the Missouri school system is doing to make this school year a safe one, please visit dese.mo.gov. I wish all Third District students and teachers a wonderful school year!