No imminent changes for Waterloo

After an extensive executive session discussion Monday night, the Waterloo School Board did not vote to make changes to the district’s instruction plan in the immediate future. 

“We believe in what we’re doing now,” Waterloo Superintendent Brian Charron said. “We believe we are serving a lot of kids. It may not be serving every family perfectly, but we’re listening to everyone from both ends of the spectrum and everyone in the middle.” 

The decision to not change the hybrid approach, which includes students coming in some afternoons for special instruction and, recently, synchronous instruction at Waterloo High School, comes after the Columbia School Board voted Thursday to bring the most students back for the longest stretch of time since the COVID pandemic began last year. 

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Citing sensitive information related to students and employees as the reason for the executive session debate, Charron stressed the district knows the current plan is not ideal. 

“We’re not satisfied with where we’re at, but the parts that we’re not satisfied about are things we can’t change,” Charron said. “We want more, we love kids and we would like every kid to be here every day.” 

Charron also pointed out a “significant portion” of students are learning remotely, which he does not expect to change, and the district will continue to deal with “rolling quarantines” for the rest of the year. 

“Our pledge, at this point, is we would like for our employees to have access to the vaccine,” Charron summarized. “We will reconvene and continue these conversations about what we can do for kids a step at a time. The next step for us is getting access to vaccines, and we’re not sure whether that’s one or two weeks away or three or four weeks away.” 

Looking ahead a little further, the board also set a graduation date for WHS. Graduation will be May 23 at 1 p.m., with the location to be determined. 

A committee of parents is working with the school to decide what can be done for graduating seniors given the pandemic – including some possible celebrations independent of WHS. 

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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