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The Rockwood School District will welcome back about 4,000 pre-kindergarten through second-grade students for five-day, in-person learning starting Sept. 30, Superintendent Mark Miles announced today (Sept. 15) in a written statement.

Rockwood began the school year Aug. 24 with all of its nearly 21,000 students learning online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miles said families will have the choice to either send their children to school for in-class instruction beginning Sept. 30 or to continue keeping them at home to learn through the district’s online instruction.

However, online instruction will not be provided to preschoolers in the Early Childhood Education program after Sept. 30, he said in the statement.

Miles said families with pre-kindergarten students to second-graders will receive an email Friday (Sept. 18) asking if they plan to have their children attend school in person or continue learning from home.

He also said the district will provide more details about the re-entry plan on its website,, on Friday. The plan to have students return to school is being developed by three groups that make up the district’s Rapid Response Team, which were created this month.

“Out of care and concern, our top priority for students, families and staff will always be health and safety,” Milles said. “You’ll find information about the extensive safety protocols and mitigation efforts in our classrooms, cafeterias, buses and schools (on the website).”

On Aug. 6, Board of Education members voted 6-1 to only offer online instruction when the school year started. Board member Tom Dunn cast the dissenting vote.

During a Sept. 5 school board meeting, Miles discussed the possibility of bringing the district's youngest students back to school.

The district previously planned not to bring students back to classrooms until after the first quarter, which ends Oct. 23.

Miles said the goal has always been to get students back in classrooms as soon as possible.

“The primary consideration is the health and safety of our students and looking at those transmission rates,” he said. “The data would indicate (preschoolers through second-graders) are the safest ages of students to bring back to our schools first.”

Miles said students in grades three through five would be the next group to return, and the district’s middle school and high school student populations would follow.

Rockwood has 29 schools, including Eureka High School, LaSalle Springs Middle School, and Eureka, Blevins and Geggie elementary schools, as well as three early childhood centers and an individualized learning center for high school students.

For more on Rockwood’s re-entry plan, read Thursday’s Eureka Leader.