Wichita Public Schools discusses eventual return to in-person learning

Wichita Public Schools students return to remote learning
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 6:39 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With the winter break over, Wichita Public Schools is continuing with remote learning for all of its students. On Monday (Jan. 4), Eyewitness News spoke with the district about what it will take to get students back into the classroom.

Wichita mother Nicole Kniazew as among parents across the district hoping that the continuation of remote learning is temporary. She said her third-grade son needs extra help and does well when he can be at school.

“It’s been really hard for him to be online, being able to sit and focus. So we’re hoping he can be able to get back in school soon,” Kniazew said.

Elementary school students in USD 259 started in-person learning at the beginning of the school year, but changed to remote in early December following a vote by the school board. Students in middle school and high school have been learning remote since the start of the year in September.

When it comes to that decision, Wichita Public Schools Board of Education President Sheril Logan said there is a lot of criteria for district leaders to consider.

“The gating criteria looks at percentage of absences in students. It looks at community percentages, where they are going up and down,” she said. “It looks at the number of new cases that are in the area and we monitor all of those pieces through Sedgwick County, through the state, and what’s happening in our district.”

Logan said they also have to have enough staff to teach the students.

“That gives us this week to know exactly where we are with our staff positions and our kids, and to get through (the) Christmas problem of people being out to see what the numbers are in the community.”

The Wichita school board meets next Monday (Jan. 11) to discuss the criteria to see if the district will make changes from remote to in-person or hybrid learning.

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