School district learning model updates & resources

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School districts

Wichita (USD 259)

Middle and high schools students in Wichita will be online for the remainder of the semester. The Board of Education reversed an earlier decision Nov. 9 amid skyrocketing coronavirus indicators. Elementary students will stay in-person or remote, depending on enrollment choice at the start of the academic year. 

The move comes after the board had decided roughly three weeks prior that students in older grade levels would attend class in a hybrid or blended learning model. About 60% of students would have followed that plan, where half of those students went in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays while the other half went on Thursdays and Fridays. That plan is no longer in effect.

The board approved a gating criteria in August that now suggests schools should be closed because of the state of the coronavirus in the county. Wichita Public Schools sent a message to parents Nov. 10 asking parents to have a plan in place in the event of a transition to 100% remote learning. 

The school district will close for the entire week of Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-27, due to the pandemic and its effects on staffing.

“This disease is out of control in our community, and we are feeling the impact of what is happening in our community inside of our schools with the COVID illnesses alongside the quarantine,” Superintendent Alicia Thompson said.

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Derby (USD 260) 

Middle and high schools students in Derby will be online until after Thanksgiving. Derby’s Gating Criteria Committee decided Nov. 10 to move to the orange zone of its reopening guide for two weeks, starting Monday, Nov. 16. Elementary students stay in-person.

The move comes after 10 weeks of in-person learning for all grade levels, except for students who chose remote learning. Families and students are asked to make those decisions for nine weeks at a time. 

“We all share a responsibility to keep our community safe and reduce the spread and the effects it has on our learning environment,” USD 260 Superintendent Heather Bohaty said in a statement. “This is a community issue, not just a school issue. I urge everyone to make adjustments to help positive cases begin to trend downward again.”

The committee will review indicators on Nov. 25 to make a determination on learning modes through winter break.

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Andover (USD 385)

Middle and high school students will be engaged in a hybrid learning model through Dec. 4. The Board of Education made the decision to return middle school students to hybrid learning starting Nov. 9 after weeks of five-day-per-week in-person learning. Elementary students will remain in-person. 

Students in the hybrid learning model attend in-person instruction two days a week and work remotely three days a week. Families and students were asked to select their enrollment decision for online or in-person learning ahead for the full school year. 

The Board of Education voted to start middle school students on a hybrid learning model, but made the decision to move to in-person Oct. 19 based on positive gating criteria. The Board reversed the decision Nov. 4 amid skyrocketing coronavirus indicators. 

Under recommendation of its task force, the Board assesses middle school and high school with separate gating criteria based on larger attendance numbers at the high school level. 

The task force is composed of health care professionals, business and community leaders, parents, Board of Education members and district staff, and will convene every two weeks to analyze health data. 

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Valley Center (USD 262) 

Students at all levels in the Valley Center school district will be online through at least Dec. 11. Superintendent Cory Gibson announced the decision in a memo sent Nov. 18. Students will move to remote learning Nov. 23. The district will continue to monitor case numbers and gating criteria, and may change models Dec. 14. 

“With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, the spread will likely accelerate versus level off or decrease,” Gibson said in the memo. 

The school district moved all high school learning to online Nov. 2, but kept middle school in a hybrid learning model until announcing the shift this week. Elementary students had remained in-person five-days-a-week up until now. 

Superintendent Gibson said the district faced serious staff absences and substitute shortages in the weeks leading up to the move to online learning. He added that the district had shifted faculty and staff to fill vacant positions, and called the move “not sustainable for an extended timeframe.”  

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Goddard (USD 265)

Goddard has not made any new changes to its learning plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Middle and high schools students in Goddard have their choice of in-person or online learning. Students at the high school level will alternate days in-person and online should they have elected in-person learning. All other levels will attend in-person five-days-a-week, should they have elected in-person learning.

Parents and students were asked to submit their learning platform ahead of the fall semester, and have since been prompted to make their selection for the spring semester. High school students were asked to submit their preference by Nov. 6. Parents and students at the K-8 levels were asked to submit their learning platform for the second semester by Nov. 29. Children currently enrolled in 100% remote learning may attend in-person starting Jan. 4.

From the start of the school year through Nov. 8, Goddard announced a 1.5% positivity rate among 5,500 on-site students and staff. 

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