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The exterior of south Columbia's John Warner Middle School, which is CPS' 7th middle school (2021 file photo courtesy of CPS' Michelle Baumstark)

First day of school at CPS; parents asked to send a water bottle with students today due to heat

Columbia’s Rock Bridge high school is one of three CPS high schools covered by the new 2023 SRO agreement approved by the school board (2021 file photo courtesy of CPS’ Michelle Baumstark)

You’ll notice extra traffic this morning around the 39 Columbia Public Schools (CPS) buildings and bus stops. Today is the first day of school for all CPS students.

CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark says about 8,000 district students are riding buses to school today. Ms. Baumstark is urging you to slow down around schools and to pay attention to school zones. She also urges you to stop, when the stop arm is out. Fast-growing CPS is Missouri’s fifth-largest school district. Ms. Baumstark says CPS had about 18,500 students last year, and she expects similar if not greater numbers this year.

Meantime, the entire 939 the Eagle listening area, including Columbia, is still under an excessive heat warning this morning. The intense heat will be an issue that CPS students deal with for today’s first day of school. CPS has sent a message to families about the heat, noting the district and schools have plans in place to address the heat. CPS is encouraging families to send a water bottle to school with their student today. While all district schools are air-conditioned, CPS advises students to avoid wearing long sleeves and long pants today.

Ms. Baumstark says the district has worked with Student Transportation of America (STA) to ensure that bus drivers have a supply of water if needed.

Ms. Baumstark also says all of their classroom teaching spots are filled, adding that CPS did not experience the mass exodus that other districts across the nation have experienced. Baumstark says they’re still looking for hourly positions in custodial services, nutrition services and paraprofessionals.

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