Lansing schools to release reopening plan next month

John Richmeier
jrichmeier@leavenworthtimes.com

Updated at 10:02 a.m. July 21, 2020, for clarity.

The Lansing Board of Education could have an approved plan early next month for the reopening of schools.

Superintendent Dan Wessel released a timeline for the preparation of the plan over the weekend.

According to the timeline, school board members could approve a plan as early as an Aug. 3 special meeting. If a plan is not approved at that time, a final vote would be expected during an Aug. 10 school board meeting.

While nothing has been finalized, Wessel said school officials are working on plans for more than one option for delivering instruction to students.

He said this includes a remote learning option for parents who are uncomfortable about having their children return to classrooms because of concerns about COVID-19.

“We do plan on having a remote option for parents that don’t want to send their kids at all,” Wessel said.

He said school officials also are looking at in-person instruction as well as a possible hybrid of on-site and remote learning.

In March, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly closed schools across the state in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Students completed the school year through remote instruction.

Wessel said classrooms in the Lansing public schools are not set up for social distancing.

“I think it’s important to say upfront with people that you know you can’t socially distance,” he said. “We just don’t have classrooms that are that size.”

He said some people say the district should just hire more teachers and reduce class sizes.

But the superintendent said this would be cost prohibitive.

With a hybrid option, students would alternate between in-class instruction and remote learning.

“Only half the kids would be there on any given day,” he said.

He said this would allow students to be more spread out in classrooms, but socially distancing would still be difficult.

Wessel asked parents of Lansing students to take an online survey that poses questions about their comfort level with returning children to school. He asked parents to complete the survey by today.

In the Leavenworth school district, board members plan to discuss a reopening plan during a July 27 special meeting.

There remained uncertainty Monday about how soon classes can resume.

On Monday, the governor signed an executive order to delay the reopening of schools until after Labor Day.

However, the Kansas State Board of Education has the authority to strike down this order under a law that was approved last month during a special session of the state Legislature.

The law requires that such an order be affirmed by the State Board of Education before going into effect.

Members of the state board are scheduled to have a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the governor’s order.

Kelly signed another executive order Monday that includes requirements for things such as masks and social distancing in schools.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR