While it may have not been the opening school officials originally envisioned, the new Leavenworth Intermediate School opened Monday for classes.
Monday marked the first day of classes of the 2020-2021 academic year for all of the public schools in Leavenworth.
Students had not been in the school buildings since March. That is when Gov. Laura Kelly ordered schools across the state to close in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Students completed the last school year utilizing remote instruction.
The new Intermediate School, which houses grades five and six, was constructed next to Richard Warren Middle School as part of a $36.7 million bond issue that was approved by voters in 2018.
The Intermediate School and Warren Middle School make up what is now called the Richard Warren Educational Campus.
School officials had previously hoped to open the Intermediate School, at least for sixth-graders, this past spring. But the opening of the building was delayed after the governor ordered schools to close.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, school officials have not had a ribbon cutting for the new school.
"We did last week release on social media a virtual tour of the building," said Jake Potter, director of public relations for Leavenworth public schools.
The virtual tour video features Principal Anne-Marie Short as she discusses different areas of the new school.
In the video, Short acknowledges school officials were not able to have the opening celebration they would have liked. But she said school officials will welcome members of the public to the building as soon as they are able to do so.
Like other school districts in the area, the Leavenworth school system offered parents the choice of enrolling their students for in-person instruction or remote instruction. Students in elementary and middle school grades also can be enrolled in the Leavenworth Virtual School.
Potter said more than 70% of students in the district have been signed up for in-person instruction.
Potter said the Leavenworth schools are off to an earlier start than many of the schools in Kansas.
He said the earlier start will give teachers time to discuss what is working well and what may need more attention before heading into Labor Day weekend.
During the first two weeks of school, one-half of the Leavenworth students who have signed up for in-person instruction will attend classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other half will be in the schools on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This Friday and next Friday will be used by teachers for professional development.
Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, also is scheduled as a professional development day.
All students who are enrolled for in-person instruction are supposed to start attending classes five days a week on Sept. 9.
But school board members could make adjustments to the post-Labor Day plans during a special meeting that is scheduled for Sept. 3.