Starting next week, many students in Leavenworth County will be going back to school, at least figuratively.
Officials in many of the local districts will be implementing continuous learning plans for completing instruction for the school year while school buildings remain closed.
“We’ll start rolling that out next week,” Lansing Superintendent Dan Wessel said.
On March 17, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order directing all kindergarten through 12th grade school buildings to close until May 29. The order was intended to help limit the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19.
This has forced school officials around the state to put together plans for completing instruction for the school year without having students in their normal classroom settings.
Officials in the Lansing, Easton and Basehor-Linwood districts plan to start their instruction plans next week.
It is unclear when the Leavenworth school district will launch its plan. A message released last week to parents and others indicated school officials plan to provide an update during the week of March 30.
In the districts that will be implementing plans next week, it appears school officials will be relying heavily on the internet for delivering instruction to students. And in some cases, students will be provided paper packets if their families are without internet access.
Wessel said he understands this is a stressful time for families.
He acknowledged parents have concerns about students falling behind or possibly missing something as the remote instruction is being utilized.
“Our teachers realize that everybody is going to be at a different comfort level,” he said.
He said the key will be communication.
“This is our first time doing it too,” he said.
Kate Bircher, student body president at Lansing High School, recently conducted a video question and answer session with the high school principal and other school officials.
The session covered topics such as the planned online classes, finals and expectations for turning in work on time. The session can be viewed on the Lansing district’s website, www.usd469.net
Bircher said she plans to do additional question and answer sessions. Students and parents can submit questions at https://forms.gle/4zprXkQb4v8EbKix7
Even though schools are closed, local districts are still offering meals to children.
Districts have various sites where people can pick up free meals during specific times.
School systems are able to utilize a U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Meals Program to offer meals for the remainder of the school year.
“It's going great,” Easton Superintendent Tim Beying said of the meal program. “It’s going really well.”
A question that may be on the minds of high school seniors is whether there will be commencement ceremonies.
“We’ll just have to see what happens at that time,” Beying said.
Currently, Leavenworth County is under an emergency public health order. The order directs people to stay home but permits them to perform essential activities, such as buying groceries, outside of the home. For now, the order is scheduled to remain in effect until April 23.
Typically, high school graduations occur in May.
Ashley Razak, communications coordinator for the Basehor-Linwood school district, said officials in her district will find some way to celebrate graduating seniors, even if it occurs virtually.
“There will be some way to do that,” she said.
Wessel said Lansing school officials are waiting to make a decision about a graduation ceremony.
“We’ll wait on that as long as we can,” he said.