Watch: Remote Learning Q&A

Dec 10, 2020

The Wichita Journalism Collaborative recently convened a panel of education experts to talk about remote learning and the best ways to keep students engaged, emotionally healthy and learning while attending classes remotely.

The panel included:

Jaime Green / The Wichita Eagle

Rianne Chavez had to start a new bartering game with her 6-year-old daughter last week: if she does her school work for 20 minutes then she can try to get just 20 minutes of paperwork done from home.

Chavez owns a massage therapy practice in Wichita, and when USD 259 sent elementary students home to remote learning last week, she had to figure out how to run her business and teach her child from home at the same time.

“The expectation is that you’re home with your kid,” she said.

Carousel Skate Center In Wichita Offers Socially Distanced Workspace For K-5 Students

Dec 9, 2020
Fernando Salazar / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Wichita’s Carousel Skate Center is now hosting elementary students for online learning in a socially distanced work space.

The Wichita School Board voted last week to transition roughly 13,000 elementary students to online learning as coronavirus infections surged, leaving many families scrambling to figure out childcare.

Courtesy Courtney Farr

EUDORA, Kansas — In 1979, a young boy fell asleep on his father’s chest in their Scott City, Kansas, home. His mother snapped a photo.

A week ago, that father died of COVID-19 in the local nursing home. Marvin Farr’s son, Courtney Farr, penned an obituary.

Carlos Moreno / KCUR

WICHITA, Kansas — The first of potentially several COVID-19 vaccines could get emergency approval by the end of the week.

But that major milestone is just the beginning of the work for local and state health departments in Kansas that will have to get the pandemic-stalling shots to people — and decide who gets it first, when and how.

The Kansas National Guard conducted 28,000 COVID-19 tests and distributed almost 40,000 cases of protective masks, gloves and gowns. Guardsmen have also packaged a staggering 8 million meals. But even as hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients and deaths mount, the guard's pandemic mission is going the other direction.

Col. Michael Venerdi, director of Joint Staff for the Kansas National Guard, says the pandemic mission has stretched throughout most of the year.

Two major regional hospital networks have announced they’ve raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Stormont Vail Health in Topeka said its wage hike, which affects nearly 900 of its more than 5,000 employees, took effect last week.

And Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City said its wage increase took effect on Nov. 8. Nearly 2,000 of the health system’s more than 12,000 employees were affected.

The increases come as hospitals fight staff shortages while their workers deal with the stress and increased workloads caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hans Pennink / Associated Press/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas on Wednesday reported spikes in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations as dozens of nursing homes experienced outbreaks and the state prepared to see that health care workers received the first available vaccines.

Kansas hospitals are turning away more than 100 transfer patients a month as smaller, local hospitals continue filling up at an alarming rate.

In May, at the beginning of the pandemic, the University of Kansas Health System denied 40 transfers and in October it was up to 140, said Jill Chadwick, a KU spokeswoman.

"November was expected to trend higher," she said, adding that those numbers are not yet available.

Dozens of Kansas nursing homes still wait three days to a week for overwhelmed labs to tell them if their residents have COVID-19.