Board of Education members react to school reopening guidelines

Coronavirus

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas State Board of Education will vote on school reopening guidelines Wednesday morning.

In the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, Kansas Department of Education officials presented members with a draft of more than 1,000 pages of reopening guidelines.

Board of Education members said they want to make sure all schools are prepared if they have to return to online learning.

“Would we prefer the kids be in school, absolutely, I would much prefer that they are, but we’ve got a very, very unusual situation here, and we have to make some accommodations and make some adjustments,” said Kathy Busch, chair of the board.

Schools can reopen in person, fully online or a mix of the two. State leaders want to make sure students are getting the most out of online learning if a school district chooses that option.

“When we came in in the spring, we literally had 72 hours to put together something to provide this remote learning, which was really hard to do,” Busch said. “It wasn’t as good as what we want, so we want to make sure we have a good, quality, rigorous learning opportunity for our kids.”

It’s up to districts to decide how they will reopen schools. Board members said the outbreak will affect schools across the state very differently.

“A lot of schools can just open the way they always have,” said board member Steve Roberts. “Let’s just see what the situation is locally, encourage our local boards to be flexible and we’ll have a decent school year.”

Leaders want schools to prepare if the virus gets worse and spreads in their community.

“I think keeping in mind that we’re in a very fluid environment is prudent,” Roberts said.

Board members said it’s up to local leaders to decide what to do in their district.

“We want to give school districts and communities the option to take a look at what makes sense for our district and for our children,” Busch said.

The guidelines also included cleaning, distancing and academic guidance for school leaders.

To see a breakdown of the draft, click here.

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