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Hutchinson Public Schools moving to remote learning due to spike in COVID-19 cases

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 11:02 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:30 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Friday, Oct. 16, 2020: The Hutchinson school district is moving to remote learning Monday. The temporary move away from in-person learning comes as Reno County sees 18.9 percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive. This puts the county in the “red zone” for grating criteria the school uses in making decisions like this.

Hutchinson Public Schools Superintendent Mike Folks said the plan is to return all K-12 students to the classroom as soon as possible, especially elementary-school students. To this point, the school board and the state have approved plans to bring small groups of students back into the classroom. First, however, the district needs to figure out the logistics of safely spacing out those students.

“Logistically, we’re looking at, how can we do that?” Folks said. “Again, that’s our priority. We’d like to have all kids back in school as soon as possible. Hybrid (and) remote learning in middle-and-high-school students, we feel like we have a pretty good plan. But most of the feedback we are getting is from elementary (parents) who would like to have their elementary children back in school, and we are doing everything we can to accommodate them.”

Folks said the decision to transition to remote learning was not easy for the school board, but it was the right thing to do.

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Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020:

The Hutchinson School District will allow some spectators at school events as the school board considers moving classes entirely online by next week.

This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Reno County continues an upward trend. The positive percentage rate in the county is higher than 15 percent, which puts the Hutchinson school district in the “red” category of its gating criteria.

With the allowance of spectators at events, the district decided to allow two tickets for each student participating in an activity. On Friday (Oct. 16), the district will make an official decision on whether or not students will go to full, remote learning.

***Note: The file footage in this story was shot before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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