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Teachers, parents, community prepare to send Missouri students back to school

back to school hickman mills.JPG
Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-22 20:09:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When school begins Monday for most school districts across Missouri, students will get back to the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. But on the last day of summer, the focus was on the three Hs: haircuts, hygiene and health.

Joey Thomas and The Know Joey? Foundation held its 13th annual Fresh Cuts Fresh Start back-to-school event in Kansas City, Missouri’s historic 18th and Vine Jazz District where Thomas owns a barbershop. Barbers provided free haircuts to children all day Sunday.

“We can encourage them to have a fresh start of the school year and give them that motivation, give them that confidence boost,” Thomas explained.

His foundation passed out free backpacks with school and hygiene supplies to students.

The Kansas City Health Department attended the event where it offered back-to-school immunizations and the COVID-19 vaccine.

13-year-old Aubrey Townsend asked her mother to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after seeing her 27-year-old sister get COVID-19 even after being vaccinated herself.

"It was scary [seeing my older sister fight COVID-19],” Townsend admitted. “But if she had the vaccine, I kind of knew she would be a little bit more safe because it helps you."

COVID-19 is on the mind of Brix Edwards, too. She’s a kindergarten teacher at Ingels Elementary School in the Hickman Mills district. As students prepare to return to her classroom Monday, she organized cleaning supplies and books, but she can’t control COVID-19.

“I try to only focus on my district and make sure we’re doing what we need to do," Edwards explained. "I just check emails as frequently as possible. We send out a weekly email with updated numbers and if we’re changing status.”

Since school resumed in Kansas, the Turner, Kansas City, Kansas, Shawnee Mission and Olathe districts all reported positive COVID-19 cases on their campuses.

Edwards plans to use masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing to keep her class of 13 students safe and healthy. Before the students arrive, she has one message for them.

“Get a good night’s rest, come prepared and ready to meet new people,” Edwards said. “Get excited for the entire year because we got a lot to do. We’ve got a lot of learning, a lot of fun.”

The three Hs may be in her curriculum alongside the three Rs this year.