Based upon our continued conversations with leaders, teachers, students, families and our Board of Directors, we have a few updates regarding our return to in-person learning. We continue to plan for in-person learning in March.
As noted previously, we will bring our school-based staff back to working on-site on Monday, March 1 to begin preparing our staff and students for the in-person school schedule. You will receive further details about returning to our regular schedules and start-times from your building leaders in the near future.
From there, we will begin to transition some students from the distance learning model to in-person learning on March 15. We are currently modifying grade levels and reconsidering a hybrid approach, which is a change from previous communication, as we’ve been adjusting decisions based on new recommendations and guidance. Students enrolled in our Kansas City Virtual Academy will continue to learn from home.
KCPS continues to plan for vaccination administration for our staff. We initially received confirmation of our staff vaccine rollout in February, but as you are most likely aware, the vaccine distribution in Missouri ranks the worst in the country. We have started vaccine administration among our staff 65 and older, but we have learned that our timeline for all staff vaccination is being pushed back to March and April.
We are aware that we’ve stated vaccine roll-out is part of our return to in-person learning considerations. Because we are receiving new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health organizations, we are still moving forward with having some students return to in-person learning in March. We will adhere to the CDC guidelines, while still monitoring our gating criteria and vaccine variables, as we safely bring our students back to in-person learning.
From the very beginning of this pandemic, our policy has been to make decisions based on science and data. We will continue to follow that policy. That means doing everything possible to maximize the health and wellness of students, families, staff and visitors as we return to in-person teaching and learning.
As you know, we have been planning and preparing for a possible return to in-person learning in our hybrid model. We reinforced that we would bring groups of students back for in-person learning only if the pandemic data demonstrated it is safe to do so. After some weeks of declining positivity rates, we are now seeing data that is trending upward again – particularly within our attendance boundaries.
The data indicates that we are not below the 10% positivity rate within our boundaries. Thus, we will not be returning to in-person learning in our hybrid model for PreK-Grade 3 students on Nov. 9.
For now, students will remain in their distance learning or Kansas City Virtual Academy classes. However, we commit to continuing to look at the data daily and communicating any possible return to in-person hybrid learning in two-week increments. These discussions will continue during our Board of Directors meetings.
We do, however, have a plan for in-person learning for our Special Education students who need additional support. We have almost 200 Special Education students who will be returning to in-person learning on Nov. 9. This plan will help us support our Special Education students according to state statute. Our teachers and principals are already in the process of working with these families to assist in our re-entry plans.
Lastly, again, we are continuing to prepare and plan for bringing back some groups of students who need alternative scenarios for some in-person learning. Between principals, teachers, families and leadership, we are constantly inviting conversations about what in-person learning could look like for some of our students who need it the most.
As we slowly try to start bringing students back in-person, stay tuned to our COVID-19 reopening webpage for information about our gating criteria for re-entry, new data dashboard and opening procedures. We will remain in communication with you along the way.
We have been planning and working through details to begin hybrid in-person learning on Nov. 9, 2020, for some of our students. This plan is still based on science and data. Students will return to school buildings only if COVID-19 positivity rates are declining consistently within our KCPS boundaries.
If approved, our reopening plan will begin with PreK-Grade 3 students returning two-days a week. Roughly half the students will attend in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other half will attend on Thursdays and Fridays. All students will attend classes from home on Wednesdays.
We plan to evaluate every two weeks whether COVID-19 positivity rates will allow us to bring more grade levels back to our buildings for hybrid in-person classes. The gating criteria below outlines how we will be making that decision and what each status means for students, staff and visitors.
*KCPS staff vaccination rollout will cause adjustments to gating criteria and re-entry guidelines.
Our website includes more information about our reopening plans, policies and procedures. This information will be updated in the coming weeks with details around our gating criteria for return to in-person learning, a dashboard with data for positivity rates within KCPS boundaries, and safety procedures for in-person learning.
We are monitoring the pandemic’s 14-day data trends within our boundaries and we plan to make a final decision about our in-person hybrid return on Monday, Oct. 26. If the Kansas City Health Department data indicates that positivity rates are declining, we will communicate our plans for in-person hybrid learning to begin on Monday, Nov. 9, for our PreK-Grade 3 students.
Thank you for your support as we continue to make decisions in the best interest of safety and learning for our students, families and staff. If you have questions, concerns or input regarding our re-opening plans, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the “Let’s Talk” feature at the top of every page on our website. We commit to clear communication as details continue to be refined and adjusted based on data and health department guidance.