To begin, the district would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has been involved and affected by the change that we have experienced over the past month and a half. You all have handled it marvelously and we greatly appreciate the "can-do" attitude that has been demonstrated. Our community is a group of folks who believe in a day's hard work and have consistently shown that you are ready to step up to the plate when you are called into action.
As we enter into the month of May and coinciding with the release of Governor Laura Kelly's "Ad Astra" plan, it is time to begin planning the end of the school year and entering into summer break. These plans have been developed in accordance with the stipulations within the "Ad Astra" plan. Namely, the time period where these activities will occur is during "Phase One" of the plan. Within "Phase One," mass gatherings greater than 10 are prohibited, 6 foot social distancing is required, and telework is strongly encouraged.
Here is the plan as it stands today, May 1st, 2020:
- On May 4th, maintenance staff will return to regular hours, preparing the building for our summer cleaning activities and beginning summer projects. Kitchen staff will continue to conduct their food service operations as usual and will perform food service drive-thrus as normal.
- On May 6th, office staff and administrators will return to the buildings to prepare for teacher check-out and conduct end of the year activities. Telework will be encouraged when able. Buildings will remain closed to the public, communication will continue to be conducted by telephone or email.
- On May 7th and 8th, certified staff will return to the buildings to conduct check-out procedures with principals. They will continue to conduct Continuous Learning Plans through the last day of school. Paraeducators are encouraged to finalize any remaining tasks during this time as well. Social distancing will still be required.
- On May 13th, the last day of scheduled classes will occur. All students are to complete Continuous Learning Plans according to their teacher's instructions. If alternate plans need to be arranged, contact with teachers and the building administrator is required.
- On May 14th, from 10am-2pm, drive-thru device and school material check-in will be conducted at both buildings. All devices and school owned property must be returned during this time. Additionally, the district will be providing their final food service drive-thru for the school year on this date.
- After material check-in has been conducted and all final preparations have occurred for the summer, all staff, with the exception of administrators and maintenance, are asked to remain off-campus until the new school year plan has been communicated. School buildings and the district office will remain closed until the "Phase Out" stage of the Governor's plan has been met. District office staff will be regularly available by phone once "Phase Three" has been determined by the county or state.
- Kindergarten Graduation and 8th Grade Promotion will occur via structured home ceremonies. Communication of plans will be made directly with families. Photos will be posted online for all to enjoy.
- On May 23rd, High School Graduation will occur, although a bit differently than previous. At 3pm, Seniors and their select family are to arrive in the drive thru line as a group, and group-by-group we will conduct a diploma awarding ceremony in front of the high school. At approximately 4pm, Seniors will drive from the high school to downtown for a parade in a pre-determined loop. Spectators are to remain in their vehicles and honk their horns and holler from their car windows. More information will be made available via our app, social media, and website.
- Summer weights and conditioning availability will begin on June 1st, assuming state and county health authorities have moved to "Phase Two." Sessions will be conducted on weekdays Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. JH/HS boys are at 8:00am-9:30am and JH/HS girls will be 9:30am-11:00am. Sport camps will occur on June 15th at the earliest. Specific dates for camps will be communicated on the app, social media, and the website. Group gathering guidance will continue to be followed as directed by the Governor's plan.
As many are probably wondering about the plan for next year, here is what we know as of today. Even in August, the district will still be at the mercy of state-level or county-level decision makers who will be making determinations based upon health within their communities. Although data is showing in Kansas that school-age children make up a small percentage of COVID-19 patients, it is also widely accepted that children are potentially asymptomatic and can spread the virus to others at a significant rate. When schools reconvene in August, decision-makers will need to weigh the current rate of infection and the potential spread of the virus in an expanded manner.
By the standards set by the Governor's "Ad Astra" Plan, the county or state would need to be in a "Phase Out" setting in order to be in session as usual. If the county or state is in one of the other three phases, then school as usual will be disrupted in some manner. This could range from busses operating at half capacity, students reporting to a singular classroom for teaching, cafeterias operating at half capacity, group settings limited, parent contact conducted virtually, or sporting events being delayed or cancelled.
Currently, schools are being advised from the Kansas Department of Education to begin local discussions on how to conduct learning during another stay-at-home order. Continuous Learning Plans were created as an immediate response to the unprecedented disruption of schools. More than likely during the next instance of an interruption of in-person learning, standards will be more specific and accounting for learning will be greater. Plans are currently being brainstormed and discussed at the district level on how to effectively weigh the difficulties of learning while at home and the learning that must be accomplished by our students to maintain preparation, advancement, and success. This could include a shift of classroom organization, operations, and resources to a digital model that can be utilized while students are in-person and virtually without much change between the two. The district anticipates the Kansas Department of Education will reconvene their Continuous Learning Task Force in the event another stay-at-home order is issued or even beforehand, but it is the mission of the district to prepare well in advance of that event so that there is as little disruption as possible to students' and families' lives.
The district continues to thank all involved and affected by these changing times. Our commitment, as always, is to our students and their families, and we strive to make every decision with them in mind. Needless to say, we have an uncertain road ahead, but as previously noted, our community believes in hard work and is not deterred by barriers placed before us.
Governor's "Ad Astra" Plan: https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Reopen-Kansas-Framework-v4.pdf
KDHE COVID-19 Map and Data: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas