Greetings Red Hawk Family,
It’s hard to believe summer is winding down and the 2020-21 school year is just around the corner. In my last communication with you, I provided an update regarding the work being done in Kansas in preparation for the school year and the guidance plans being developed by a commission headed by Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education. That guidance is now complete and awaits approval from the Kansas State Board of Education. USD 415 officials have examined the draft copy and I provided related information during our board meeting earlier this week. Our district committees began initial planning for the school year in June. With the presumed approval of the guidance document, planning for schools in USD 415 will move into high gear this week. The committees will collaboratively plan for learning, logistics, and health and safety. Their plan will be approved by the USD 415 Board of Education later this month.
Rightfully, learning and instruction are at the center of all of our planning. Of course, the current circumstances require the creation of contingencies and new methods so we can pivot to an off-site system of instruction if we need to. However, I do want to emphasize that on-site (in buildings) instruction will be the primary instructional method in USD 415. We believe our students learn best when in our schools and in front of our highly-qualified and caring professionals. USD 415 also understands that the degree to which families are comfortable returning to school varies. Those differences are likely impacted by the prevalence and trends of COVID-19 locally and regionally, medical conditions of students and family members, and even the degree of precautionary and cleaning measures taken by the district. Therefore, there will be a remote learning option offered, as well. More details are being developed and will be communicated as part of the enrollment process slated for early August. Please note that the instructional delivery and learning options are based on current health circumstances and recommendations. They are subject to change. If health-related restrictions are recommended, the district will have contingency plans that will pivot away from traditional, on-site attendance.
I understand this communication likely leaves you with many more questions regarding a variety of topics including, but not limited to the following:
- Safety and cleaning
- Precautionary measures including social-distancing, masks, and even temperature scanning
- Food Service
- Protocols regarding cases of COVID-19 in our community or schools
- Extra-Curricular and co-curricular activities
While no final decisions are available, we are in constant discussion and planning with our school community, our staff, health experts and other stakeholders. As decisions and plans are finalized and approved, you will receive communication.
Please know that crucial discussions regarding our education system and the needs of students, staff, and families have been on-going since schools closed last March. While the information continues to evolve and circumstances remain fluid, the discussions and investigation have been constant. Weighing those needs and considering all related risks will continue to be paramount as our discussions continue and our plans take shape.
I ask you to stay tuned as we continue our work and I thank you for your understanding as we navigate these unchartered waters. Thank you.
Lonnie D. Moser, Superintendent