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Wichita School Board To Consider Plan To Bring Students Back Into Classrooms

Christopher Sessums
flickr Creative Commons

After learning remotely since December, Wichita elementary students could be back in the classroom as early as next Wednesday.

The Wichita School Board will consider a plan at its meeting Monday to switch back to a hybrid education model for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Some students would attend classes on site, and others would continue learning remotely, either through MySchool remote or Education Imagine Academy based on a family’s selection for the first semester.

If the board approves the plan, "Elementary families will need to be prepared to shift learning models within the week," district Superintendent Alicia Thompson wrote in a letter to families Friday.

Under the plan, middle and high school students would have the option to return to in-person learning when the new semester starts on Jan. 25.

Director of safety services Terri Moses says the coronavirus is unpredictable, but the district is basing its plan on the information available now.

“And the information we have at this time is that it appears that COVID in the Sedgwick County community appears to be somewhat stable,” she told reporters Friday.

The district went fully remote this fall after the number of coronavirus cases in Sedgwick County spiked and the district was struggling with staffing.

“Beyond what’s going on the community, we have to look at our staff quarantine and our staff numbers, and those seem to have leveled out as well,” Moses said.

The county’s positive test rate was at 12.2% Friday, down from a high of 22% in mid-November.

Moses said no additional safety precautions will be in place when students return.

“The constant reminders, I think, is the most important safety,” she said. “Nothing has changed on the CDC in terms of wearing a mask, social distancing, paying attention to your symptoms, your own body.

“I think the biggest thing is just reminding people.”

The school board meets Monday at 6 p.m.