USD 247 Re-opening Schools Update

Dear Lancer Families,

I hope all of you are having a great summer! I want to tell you how proud I am of our students, parents, community, and staff and their response to the Continuous Learning Plan during this past spring. Thanks to you and your children we took a challenging time and not only survived, but in many ways we thrived!

I am sure that many of you are wondering about what the 2020-2021 school year will bring so I thought I would share a little information about where we are headed this fall as we reopen schools. We do not have all the answers at this time, but I want to share with you what I can and get feedback from you using a survey that will be sent to you via text and email.  If you do not receive the survey by July 2, please contact the district office at 620-457-8350 to ensure we have up-to-date contact information for you.  Your completion of the survey (very short) is very important to us as we plan to reopen.  Thank you in advance for completing it no later than July 10. 

I also want you to know that we have created a Returning to School Task Force that have been and will continue to work together to develop a plan for reopening USD 247 schools.  In the near future, we will be reaching out to parents and students seeking volunteers to serve on the RTS Task Force. Like all schools in Kansas, we are patiently awaiting on the work of Navigating 2020 Guidelines from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) which should be released to the state on July 16. That is when the heart of our work will really begin.  For now, we are confident that we will need to prepare for three scenarios including on-site learning, remote learning, and a hybrid of the two.

While we await that guidance, I want to share with you some things that we have already accomplished:

  • Upon recommendation from the Returning to School Task Force, the board approved adjusting the 20-21 calendar by moving the professional development day on February 12 to August 18 which moves the first day for students to August 19. February 12 will become a student contact day.  This extra day of PD will be very valuable as we plan and prepare for student learning to begin.  Use the following link to view the updated calendar: https://usd247.com/district-calendar/
  • Upon recommendation from the Returning to School Task Force, the board approved the purchase of new Chromebooks for all SES students as well as additional replacement iPads for SHS. Many new teacher devices were approved as well.  Additional and replacement devices at SMS were approved earlier this spring.  These purchases will strengthen our efforts for remote learning if that is needed again.
  • Great progress has been made to deep-clean and sanitize the buildings and the custodians will have them safe, clean, and disinfected prior to reopening.

Again, once we have access to the Navigating 2020 Guidelines from KSDE we will also develop other procedures, processes, and policies that will guide the reopening of schools. We will share our plan as soon as we finish it. That could be as late as the first week of August.  Thank you again for your patience.

At this time you and your family can begin to discuss how school may look different this coming year but it will be a safe place. Your family can also start to think about how your family will deal with the changes in on-site learning, hybrid (a combination of on-site and remote learning), or remote learning which will be used only if rates of positive cases justify closure.

At the time of my writing this letter, I think that we will start the year using on-site learning but know that we are several weeks away from the start of the 2020-2021 school year (August 19 for students) and that might change. I also know that our students, parents, community, and staff will be up to whatever challenges this school year brings. As always, if you have any questions, or want to give input, or just want to share your thoughts/feelings please feel free to contact me or your administrator.

Thank you for all of your support as we work to ensure a safe reopening of schools!

Respectfully,

Dr. Brad Miner, Superintendent

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