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Start dates differ as Kansas districts develop back-to-school plans

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 5:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As school districts across Kansas submit plans for their local school boards to consider, projected start dates differ with some sticking to a recommendation from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly to start after Labor Day and others opting to start earlier.

This week, we learned the Haysville and Maize school districts are among those presenting plans to start after Labor Day, joining the Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City, Kan. school districts.

Among private schools, we learned this week, that Wichita Collegiate is among those planning to return to in-person learning next month. The campus that serves students in the preschool through high school level reported successfully serving more than 150 students in its Summer Explorations Camp.

“As an independently accredited school, undergoing annual reviews by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, one of our abilities is to make independent decisions that we believe will make the most positive impact on our students,” said Nathan Washer, Head of School in a news release from Wichita Collegiate. “We believe that a Spartan education is key to the success of our young people and that we are prepared to return to campus safely on August 19.”

Some smaller, rural Kansas districts in parts of the state with few to no cases of COVID-19, decisions to start in mid to late August, as opposed to September, are also expected. This week, Eyewitness News spoke with superintendents of districts in Wallace and Rawlins counties who said they’re glad to have local control of when to start school. As of this week, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in either county located about four hours from Wichita in northwest Kansas.

In Salina, one of the state’s larger districts in a county with far fewer cases than in Sedgwick County, schools are set to start Aug. 31 with the district offering two options: one for in-person learning and another for remote learning If Salina parents decide to send their children back to school in-person, the district said precautions will be in place and practiced throughout each school day.

Salina school district students starting the year remotely will have to log 385 minutes of attendance each day, the same as they would with a regular day at school. Masks will be required in every Salina school building.

“We’ll be requiring anybody that enters our facilities to have a mask on if they’re in a shared area. And so, that is the expectation in our facilities, and we think that that will increase safety for students and increase safety for staff and we certainly want to be protective of public health,” said Salina Unified School District Superintendent Linn Exline.

You can find a comprehensive list of precautions the Salina schools commit to taking each day on the district’s website.

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