Wichita Public Schools

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Since March, K-12 students at the state’s largest districts have been sent home, brought back and then told to leave their classrooms again.

Now, many of those students will return to school buildings again this month as educators and researchers redefine what it means to hold in-person classes safely.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

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


Stephan Bisaha / KMUW

All elementary students in Wichita Public Schools will learn remotely, starting this week.

The district's school board voted Monday night to make the switch because of the county's worsening coronavirus crisis.

Stephan Bisaha / kmuw

Wichita's board of education voted Monday to extend Thanksgiving break an two extra days.

Students and staff will now take Nov. 23 and 24 off, giving them a full work week away from the classroom — both in-person and virtually.

The district said it's running short on teachers and substitutes as the rise in COVID-19 cases in Sedgwick Counties forces employees to isolate and quarantine. 

Superintendent Alicia Thompson told the board it's been a rough couple of weeks.

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

WICHITA — The Wichita Board of Education canceled its plan to let middle and high school students back into the classroom on Thursday as coronavirus cases surge in Sedgwick County.

The vote was 5-2 with board members Ben Blankley and Mike Rodee voting against the motion.

"It’s a disservice to continue in a full remote model for secondary learners even considering our community transmission," Blankley said at Monday night's meeting.

Board member Stan Reeser said he wanted to reopen schools, but that the coronavirus numbers forced him to vote otherwise.

Stephan A Bisaha / KMUW

The Wichita school board decided to move forward with its plan to transition middle and high school students to in-person learning.

The board held a special meeting on Friday to discuss the worsening coronavirus pandemic in Sedgwick County. The positive rate for COVID-19 testing has risen from 5.4% on Oct. 1 to 14.5% on Thursday, the last day data was available on Sedgwick County’s coronavirus dashboard.

At-Risk Star Students Overcome COVID-19 Learning Restrictions In Wichita Program

Oct 26, 2020
Chris, flickr Creative Commons

Even for the best and brightest students, remote learning in the midst of a pandemic can prove challenging.

Regardless of their past record, even high-performing students can find themselves struggling to stay focused, missing out on socialization and potentially veering off track.

stacey_newman / Getty Images/iStockphoto

After learning virtually since the beginning of the school year, Wichita middle and high school students will be able to return to in-person classes next month.

Chris Neal / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Less than a week into the new school year, the warning came: The school district’s COVID-19 learning plan expected too much from teachers.

“It’s unsustainable,” Greg Jones, a representative for the Kansas National Education Association, told the Wichita school board. “We don’t think that things can continue as they are.”

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — A standard school bus can hold as many as 72 students, as long as you pack them in three to a bench. That just isn’t possible during a pandemic.

And according to Wichita Public Schools Transportation Director Lisa Riveros, following the 6-foot social distancing recommendation would “reduce it down to as many as 10, 11, 12 passengers.”

Count busing among the numerous challenges Kansas school districts are facing as they head back to school this week. Some can’t find enough drivers. Others aren’t in the position to add more buses or routes. That’s left districts looking to do everything they can to reduce the number of kids they have to transport.

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