Leavenworth board approves hybrid schedule

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When students from the Leavenworth public schools return to classes after Labor Day, they will be operating on a hybrid schedule.

Members of the Leavenworth Board of Education approved the schedule Thursday during a special meeting.

With the hybrid schedule, students who have signed up for in-person instruction will alternate between attending classes at school buildings and receiving instruction remotely.

Some parents in the district have signed up their children for only remote instruction. These students will not be impacted by the hybrid plan.

Board members adopted the hybrid plan based on what is referred to as gating criteria recommended by the Leavenworth County Health Department.

The gating criteria recommends different modes of instruction for students depending on conditions related to COVID-19 cases in Leavenworth County.

Board members had the option of adopting their own gating criteria, but they voted Thursday to adopt the Leavenworth County Health Department’s recommendations.

The criteria creates three categories, green, yellow and red, based on conditions. District officials are planning to conduct classes with the hybrid model because current conditions place the Leavenworth public schools in the yellow category.

If conditions worsen and the district shifts to the red category, all instruction would be remote. The green category would allow students to operate with a full in-person class schedule.

While the hybrid model is in place, about half of the students, those with last names beginning with the letters A-K, will attend in-person classes Mondays and Thursdays. And they will receive remote instruction Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

According to the district’s schedule, these students make up what is being referred to as Group A.

Group B, or students with last names beginning with the letters L-Z, will attend in-person classes Tuesdays and Fridays. And they will receive remote instruction Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Students will be following a different schedule for the upcoming week, which will be shortened school week. Students in Group A will have in-person classes Wednesday. Group B will have in-person classes Thursday, and all students will have remote instruction Friday.

Superintendent Mike Roth said it would be really difficult to maintain social distancing if all students attended classes on the same day.

District officials said Leavenworth public schools will switch from the yellow category to one of the other categories only after two consecutive weeks of green conditions or two consecutive weeks of red conditions.

The gating criteria takes into account the number of new cases per 100,000 people, the rate of positive tests and the trend in the incidence rate.

Board members voted 6-0 to approve the gating criteria and the hybrid schedule. Board member John Goodman was absent.

They plan to revisit the issue again sometime before Oct. 12, which is the date of a regular monthly meeting.

Board President Doug Darling also suggested the board should take a vote before the school district shifts from one color category to another.

“It shouldn’t just be an automatic thing,” Darling said.

The school year began for Leavenworth students on Aug. 24.

During the first two weeks of classes, only half of the students were in the school buildings at one time.

School officials initially planned to have all students start attending classes at the same time following Labor Day.

But this plan was adopted before recommendations for gating criteria was presented to the schools, Roth said.

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