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Dr. DuBray yearbookTune in to the latest update on the FORTiTUDE podcast. 1.24.21



Jan. 19, 2021

Dear Fort Zumwalt Families,

   Today we begin the second semester of the 2020 - 2021 school year. While the home-school partnership is always important, it has never been as crucial or as strong as it has been this school year. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank our staff, students and parents/guardians for each doing their part to help us move forward with teaching and learning in the Fort Zumwalt School District.

   With the new semester, we welcome approximately 1,000 students back to in-person instruction across the district. Our FZ Virtual teachers remain committed to providing Fort Zumwalt’s Board approved curriculum to the 2,000 or so students who are learning online this semester. Parents/guardians of high school students learning online will see some changes as we go forward. More of the curriculum will now be our own and will be taught by our teachers. In the face of the pandemic, our staff has found innovative ways to provide our students with as many of their typical experiences as possible. From academics, arts and athletics, to their work in the community, Fort Zumwalt students have had as close to a typical school year as possible while abiding by COVID-19 protocols.

   To sustain these opportunities, it is more important than ever to remain diligent, at school and in the community, in the protocols that have been key to our success:

  • Daily At-Home Wellness Check
  • Proper Masking
  • Healthy Hand Hygiene and Distancing Habits
  • Limited Contacts 

   Since before the beginning of this school year, we have followed the guidance of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. This includes new information regarding the modified quarantine, a key component of which is proper mask wearing. The new information relates to the type of mask worn at school. The health department has indicated that masks with vents or single-layer gaiters would not qualify an exposed student for a modified quarantine. This does not mean these masks cannot be worn, just that the modified quarantine (which allows a student to leave their house and come to school) would not be available to these students. Any student coming to school who would like a disposable mask, which if worn would qualify for the modified quarantine, may stop by any school office and receive a mask for use during the school day. We have updated the information on wearing masks on the Mask Information page on our website for your reference.

   Our students and staff have been committed to slowing the spread by wearing masks in our schools and abiding by other public health protocols. Your support has strengthened these efforts and has been most appreciated. The health department website now features a registration page where residents can get on the list to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is a welcome tool in our fight against the virus. I am looking forward to the successes I know our students and staff will share in the upcoming weeks. As we continue the work of teaching and learning, I wish you and your children a successful second semester.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bernard J. DuBray

Superintendent

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Jan. 3, 2021
See the Superintendent's Update on the FORTiTUDE podcast

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Nov. 24, 2020

Dear Fort Zumwalt Families,

As we head into Thanksgiving break, I wanted to take a moment to express the gratitude we as Fort Zumwalt School District have for our partnership with you, our students and their families. Together we have been able to provide our students academic instruction and connections with teachers and peers that support social emotional growth and learning. As it has all year, the situation continues to develop and change. The five county school district superintendents have been working with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health since the Governor’s announcement of updates to the state’s guidelines for schools. There is a modification that I want to share with you, which will go into effect when we return Monday, Nov. 30. Effective Monday:

-- When contact tracing finds an individual exposed to a COVID-positive person at school and both they and the COVID-positive person were properly masked, the exposed person (student or staff member) will be put on a modified quarantine. 

-- The student/staff member will be able to leave home only for the purpose of school/work.

-- Outside of school/work, the person should be at home.

-- No carpooling. No extracurricular activities. No attending gatherings of any kind.

-- This modification begins Nov. 30 and is not retroactive.

-- It only applies to those exposed to a COVID-positive person in school while both are properly masked.

-- Standard quarantine, which we have followed since August, still applies to anyone exposed outside of school or exposed in any situation where masks were not properly used.

-- COVID-positive individuals and symptomatic individuals are not allowed at school.

-- We will still conduct contact tracing and we will still notify close contacts and report them to the health department.

Your diligence in supporting the school procedures of at-home wellness checks, keeping your child(ren) home if they are ill, watching your distance, wearing a mask and washing hands has slowed the spread in our schools. Thank you for doing your part. Have a safe holiday.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bernie DuBray

Superintendent

Fort Zumwalt School District


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Nov. 18, 2020
Some of you might have seen the St. Charles County Department of Public Health dashboard that summarizes school-linked COVID-19 cases and transmissions. We know it can create confusion when different entities report differing data, so I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why the health department data differs from what we have been posting since the beginning of the school year. There are two reasons:
 
The health department data includes close contacts exposed directly through a school setting, AND
All other cases involving students or staff members, regardless of where transmission occurred.
If there is reported or suspected transmission among two individuals who are connected with the District in some capacity, it will show as transmission in the health department’s data – even if the individuals are linked in other ways outside of school.
 
For example, transmission between two siblings who are both Fort Zumwalt students would be reported as a “school-linked transmission” on the health department dashboard, but we would not count that as school spread. Or, if students gathered on the weekend and positive cases linked to the gathering, that would show up on the health department dashboard, but we would not count it as school spread.
 
The contact tracing our principals and school nurses have conducted under the health department's direction has kept a close eye on reported transmission within the school setting. This helps us better understand the effectiveness of the preventative measures in place and the impact of school attendance on our COVID numbers. We do follow cases where the reported transmission occurred outside of school, such as the weekend gathering, and these numbers are included in our weekly dashboard updates. However, they are not included when we report virus transmission in our schools. 
 
Thank you for your continued support of our efforts. Be safe.

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Nov. 12, 2020

Dear Fort Zumwalt Families,

   As you might be aware, today Governor Mike Parson and Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven announced some changes to the recommendations for K - 12 schools in regards to slowing the spread of COVID-19. District administrators are reviewing the revisions to the recommendations from DESE and the Department of Health and Senior Services.  The recommended guidelines relate to the wearing of masks and quarantines for students and staff exposed to a positive case at school. We are working with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health to make sure we put forth clear instructions on the new guidelines and will bring updates to you as soon as we can. 

   During the briefing, Dr. Rachel Orscheln of Washington University School of Medicine shared that the strategies implemented by school districts, including Fort Zumwalt, are working to slow the spread of COVID-19. She added that these strategies have been very successful in schools and that the number of positive cases resulting from exposure in schools has been minimal. 

  • --Remember to regularly screen yourself for COVID-19 symptoms. Students and staff should be performing their At-Home Wellness check each day before leaving for school.

  • --Stay home if you are ill.

  • --Organize for maximum social distance when you are out.

  • --Keep your cohort group small. The more people with whom you are in contact, the greater your risk or exposure.

  • --Avoid crowds.

  • --Wash and/or sanitize your hands often and well. 

  • --Properly wear an effective mask.

   As you have heard me say many times, strong schools are found in strong communities. If we fortify our efforts to slow the spread, students can stay in school. On behalf of district administration and the Board of Education, I want to thank you for your support and for your patience as we work through the new guidance. Stay safe.


Sincerely,

Dr. Bernard J. DuBray

Superintendent


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Oct. 22, 2020

Dear Fort Zumwalt Families,

Safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 continue to make this a most unusual school year. However, as I shared with the Board of Education at their most recent meeting, things are going well. Masks and hand sanitizing have been successful. Social distancing has been the hardest of our safety measures to implement. However, each day staff finds more creative ways to space out their students. Despite our best efforts, each day there is a small number of students and staff who test positive, but a larger number who are quarantined due to exposure to a positive individual. The health department’s strict guidelines require us to quarantine anyone who has been within 6 feet of a positive individual for more than 15 minutes, with or without a mask. So, on any given day, we might have 300-400 students quarantined due to exposure. Since Aug. 31, 130 students have reported positive tests. The vast majority are traced to family gatherings or community activities. Of the 1,708 students quarantined thus far, 1,108 were quarantined due to exposure at school. Only 8 of those students have subsequently reported a positive test.

 

FZ Virtual is also going well, having worked through many of the obstacles presented in our undertaking of this large-scale effort for the first time. It has us well prepared for bad weather season, as I recently shared with the Board. State law now allows us to utilize Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) days, which will allow students to complete assignments at home. Elementary students will be receiving packets for these days. Secondary students should be sure to have their Chromebooks for online work. When the assignments are completed and turned in, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will allow us to count the day and not require its make-up. We can use this AMI method for up to six days of inclement weather. Beyond that, days will have to be made up as in the past. You will be notified of an AMI day by phone and/or text. A second plan, Alternative Methods of Instruction – Extended (AMI-X), will be virtual instruction used in the unlikely event of a longer shut down for a school or the district.

 

Finally, as we complete the first quarter of the school year, it is necessary for us to think ahead to the second semester. When parents originally had the choice between in-person and virtual instruction it was for one semester. We now need parents to make that choice for each of their students for the second semester, which begins Jan. 19. Parents should have received an email that included a link for the form. Please complete the form for each FZ student in your household by Oct. 30. This will give us the information we need to plan for the second semester. Families of high school students should be aware that second semester virtual courses will feature an increased amount of Fort Zumwalt approved curriculum taught by Fort Zumwalt teachers. All families should know that we take into careful account current class and teacher assignments. However, class size and teacher assignments could be affected by parent choices for second semester. If you have questions about your decision for your children, please reach out to your building principal.

 

I have been extremely pleased with the first quarter of the new school year and I look forward to completing the year in the same fashion. Thank you for your continued support for the Fort Zumwalt School District.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Bernie DuBray

Superintendent


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Sept. 27, 2020
Half-way through the first quarter, an update from the superintendent on the FORTiTUDE podcast.

Dear Fort Zumwalt Families,

   We have reached the midpoint of the first quarter and I wanted to report to you that the school year is going well. As expected, we have hit a few bumps in the road, but our commitment, and yours, has kept a strong focus on our mission to provide the best education we can in light of the pandemic. Our three primary measures implemented to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus have been mostly successful. Masks and hand sanitizing are fixtures in our schools. Social distancing has been implemented in all classrooms and lunch rooms as well as on the playgrounds of our elementary schools. Maintaining social distance has revealed itself to be our biggest challenge. There have been some positive COVID cases that have caused a number of students to be quarantined due to their proximity to the positive case. The quarantines are at the direction of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health and should be followed closely in all of our schools.

   I regularly talk with our principals about implementing these three measures, as well as the importance of the daily at-home wellness check. I expect a decrease in the number of quarantined as students better learn how important these measures are. Our sports programs have been underway officially since Aug. 10. Outside of the limited crowd sizes, masks and social distancing for spectators, everything looks fairly normal. For the hundreds of students involved with our teams there have been relatively few quarantines or positive test results. This is another sign that we can make this work. We greatly appreciate the community’s support and patience with the measures we have put in place.

   One new program just recently put in place is the USDA’s Seamless Option, which provides free meals to all Fort Zumwalt students, regardless of income. Paul Becker, Director of Student Nutrition Services, was able to secure a waiver providing federal funds making breakfasts and lunches free. (A la carte items at middle and high schools aren’t included.) These meals will be free until those federal funds run out or until Dec. 31, whichever comes first. You can learn more about the program, and how to opt out, on our website.

   Any time you do something for the first time you learn a lot along the way. So it has been with our virtual program. I believe it will continue to get better as time goes along, especially for our high school students who have been working in the Launch curriculum. At the elementary and middle schools we have developed online courses using our existing curriculum. This is the long range goal for high schools as well. As we look to the second semester, it is critical we have time to plan for students and staff. Therefore, in the next few weeks families in our virtual program will be receiving an email regarding your intentions to remain in that program or attend in-person classes beginning Jan. 19, when second semester begins.

   These have been the most difficult times education has experienced, maybe in our lifetime. Our 1,500 certified teachers and administrators know how to educate your children and are doing so while enforcing direction from health officials. More than ever, this year our students are served by the strong partnership between families and educators. Thank you for continuing to have faith in your school district.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bernard J. DuBray

Superintendent


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Aug. 21, 2020
Tune in to the latest FORTiTUDE podcast on the Return 2020 plan.

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Aug. 13, 2020
Dear Parents,
This morning a team from the Fort Zumwalt Educators Association sat down with a Board of Education team to discuss the proposed change in start date to Aug. 31, 2020, for the 2020-2021 school year. 
The two teams came to an agreement and, pending final approval at the regular Board of Education meeting on Monday, Aug. 17, the first day of school has been delayed to Aug. 31.  This delay created a few changes to the school year calendar. Most notably, while Winter Break will still be two weeks, students will return from Jan. 4. Spring Break is unchanged. The last day for students will be May 28, an Early Release day for students K - 8 and a half-day of finals for high school. The full calendar will be posted to our website once final Board approval is received. 
We look forward to Aug. 31, when we will welcome all of our students, no matter the platform, back to learning and our community can take the first step forward together.
Sincerely,
Dr. Bernie DuBray
Superintendent
Fort Zumwalt School District

Aug. 11, 2020
Dear Parents,
This letter is written as an update on plans for the 2020-2021 school year. First, and foremost, you should know that the district plan originally released July 20 remains in effect. That is, we intend to start with five days a week of face-to-face instruction, Pre-K through grade 12. We will be practicing safe social distancing as much as possible and have modified plans so that all staff and students K-12 will be expected to wear masks. We also offered our parents an option of virtual instruction. The deadline for that decision was July 31.
At that time, 80 percent of parents indicated face-to-face instruction was their preference. Approximately 20 percent, or 3,500 students, registered for FZ Virtual. This is about 1,200 more students than was indicated in earlier surveys, so it is taking more time than expected to rearrange schedules for the start of the year. Therefore, at a special Board of Education meeting Aug. 10, I recommended that the start of the school year be delayed five days to Aug. 31. This will allow the additional time necessary to plan and reschedule our student body to best provide for the new year. The Board approved this recommendation pending an agreement with the Fort Zumwalt Education Association.
We are all excited to see students in our hallways again and hope all parents realize that, until COVID-19 is under control, the school day will look different than what you remember. There are many modifications and safety precautions in place for the benefit of students and staff. Check your school’s website to learn more about specific modifications. Please be aware, I expect there will be COVID-19 cases in our schools despite our serious efforts to keep illness out. We have procedures in place that will deal with both staff and student cases. Even though there might be some short periods of shutdown, I firmly believe that the collaboration of staff, parents and students in upholding the measures we have in place can provide an environment that supports in-person instruction during this pandemic. As always, our strength is our community’s support. I look forward to the day all 18,000 students will be back in our hallways.
Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent



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July 20, 2020
Dear Parents,
As all parents know, the district has not held face-to-face classes with students since March 6, when Spring Break began. We expected to come back to school on March 16, however, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health and St. Charles County government closed the schools in the county on that date. Therefore, there has been no face-to-face instruction for the entire fourth quarter and no face-to-face summer school this summer. COVID-19 spread began to look much better around the middle of June and the district began working on plans to begin the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 24 in a face-to-face fashion.
The Fort Zumwalt School District Return to School Plan was created in collaboration with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health using CDC recommendations for best health practices. We also included information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. We have attempted to glean the best information from many sources to restart district schools in a safe and secure school system. We have conducted two surveys of parents and staff regarding their intentions with the reopening of school. The most recent surveys opened on July 6 and closed on July 10. They indicated 88 percent of our parents wanted to return to school in person and also that 90 percent of staff wanted to return to work.
The plan represents an outline of each important aspect of the school day and includes a snapshot of each grade grouping for parents to review. While the plan indicates three levels of instruction, there is also a virtual option should a parent wish to have their child stay at home and still receive a quality education program. We asked parents to indicate on the most recent survey if they would like to choose a virtual option. Thirteen percent said they would like online instruction rather than return their child to face-to-face classes. A final decision on this semester-long commitment needs to be made through our online registration process by July 31. This will open Wednesday, July 22. The other levels of instruction will be face-to-face, a hybrid or complete virtual. These levels of instruction are explained in the plan. While we are planning for Level A, we are also listening to our health department and will be prepared to change levels of instruction should the health department or a higher state source make a decision to close the schools.
Our No. 1 priority is to keep our students and staff safe while providing the best education. In order to better ensure these goals, our plan includes a requirement for staff and students above third grade to wear masks in the school buildings. Students below third grade will be encouraged, but not mandated. This feature of the plan should make everyone feel a little more comfortable considering that wearing a mask goes a long way toward stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Further, I can assure you, I will be in regular contact with the health department and, should circumstances change, I will inform parents and staff members of this event. At this time, we still have five weeks for the situation to improve. It is my hope that we will have better conditions for the start of the 2020-2021 school year than those we had when we were last in our schools in March. If you have questions, you can contact your building principal or me directly.
Sincerely,
Dr. Bernie DuBray
Superintendent
Mobile view: Return to School 2020 Plan 
Desktop view: Return to School 2020 Plan
Plans may be modified as public health guidelines are updated.



More about the 2020-2021 school year 

Online Registration opens July 22

Use this link to access online registration.
https://sdm.fz.k12.mo.us/FZ360x3/login

Please note: The Tyler 360 app is not supporting the full registration process. Use the link above to log-in through a browser.

Click the first yellow banner to complete the form for each of your children regarding Option 1 (in-person learning) and Option 2 (virtual learning) for the first semester. THIS FORM MUST BE COMPLETED BY JULY 31.
Please note, this form is NOT available on the app.

Click the second yellow banner to complete the annual forms. While some online forms cover your entire family, others are required once for each of your children, so be sure the process is complete for each of your students.

If you have already completed the annual forms through the Tyler 360 mobile app, please take a moment to log-in to the parent portal through a browser to register for online or in-person learning. Remember there is a July 31 deadline to enroll in the virtual option. 

Immunizations
Remember: All students entering Kindergarten, 8th or 12th grade require immunization updates. Immunization Information Check the St. Charles County Department of Public Health website for information on immunization clinics.

Resources for Families in Need 

Free & Reduced Meal Application is now available. Please remember to check our Community Resources page.


Click your school for supply list information.

Please note: All four middle schools are working from the same supply list this year. 

 All Middle Schools

 

       

 

Clemens Center

 

 FZ Virtual Elementary

             

 Dardenne

    

 Emge

      

Flint Hill  

      

Forest Park

 Hawthorn

 

 JL Mudd

 

 Lewis & Clark

 

Mid Rivers 

 Mount Hope

 

      Ostmann     

 

 Pheasant Point

 

      Progress South

 Rock Creek

 

 St. Peters

 

 Twin Chimneys

 

 Westhoff