Wichita elementary students return to classrooms Wednesday; secondary students to start hybrid learning later this month

By Matthew Kelly, Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Wichita elementary students will return to in-person learning Wednesday. The Wichita Board of Education voted 5-2 Monday evening to fast-track the transition back to classrooms for K-5 students while starting middle and high school students in a hybrid learning model on Jan. 25.

The board also voted to return preK students to in-person learning on Thursday. Students at all levels whose families opted for remote learning are not affected by the decision.

All Wichita Public School students have been learning virtually since Dec. 2, when 13,000 elementary students were transitioned online. Middle and high school students have been learning remotely since the school year began.

The hybrid learning model for secondary students, set to start on the first day of second semester, will involve two days of face-to-face learning a week.

There were 334 positive COVID-19 cases amongst WPS staff in late November when the board voted to bring all students online. As of Monday, the district reported 231 positive cases.

On Monday, just three schools reported that at least 20% of staff were quarantining, compared to 22 in November.