Wichita school board approves remote learning districtwide

Wichita Public Schools USD 259
Wichita Public Schools USD 259(KWCH)
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 7:16 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - All students in the Wichita school district will move to remote learning by the end of the week. The Wichita Board of Education approved the district-wide move Monday night.

Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson said the goal is to begin the transition on Wednesday (Dec. 2) and be fully remote by Friday (Dec. 4). During her presentation, Dr. Thompson said 22 USD 259 schools have 20% or more staff members quarantined. There are currently 334 active COVID-19 cases among staff members and 1,137 staff members quarantined (16% of entire workforce).

Dr. Thompson said specials teachers, paraprofessionals and many certified employees who work in our central office have had to cover classroom teaching assignments for the last several weeks to cover teaching vacancies. There are also four school buildings that have temporarily shifted to full remote learning – Levy, Mueller, White and Payne – due to the staffing issue.

“I want you to know that our team is doing everything humanly possible, and then some, to continue serving our students through this pandemic,” said Dr. Thompson.

The superintendent referred to the local health order in Sedgwick County which states that employers should allow employees to work remotely as much as possible. The order also states that schools, colleges and universities should utilize remote learning as much as possible, and the order encourages schools to cease all sports and other in-person extracurricular activities.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association issued guidelines last week to allow winter sports from Dec. 1 to Dec. 22 with a moratorium on practices between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3. and games resuming January 8. Dr. Thompson said USD 259 sports would continue with the KSHSAA guidelines which prohibit spectators after Dec. 1.

Dr. Thompson said all technology has been deployed to schools. She said some schools have already issued devices to students. She said students should report to school on Tuesday. Details about the move to remote learning will be released at that time.

Nutrition services will also continue and be offered to students.

The learning model will be re-evaluated at the school board’s Jan. 11 meeting.

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