Students return to schools

John Richmeier

Many local children are returning to school this week.

Tuesday marked the first day of classes for the 2020-2021 school year for the Basehor-Linwood, Fort Leavenworth and Easton public schools.

And classes are scheduled to begin today in the Lansing school system.

“We’re looking forward to being back in school,” Fort Leavenworth Superintendent Keith Mispagel said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Local districts typically begin the school year in August. But the start of this school year was delayed in many districts as officials prepared to start classes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, Gov. Laura Kelly ordered schools across Kansas to close in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Students finished the 2019-2020 school through remote instruction.

For the current school year, local districts offered parents the choice of signing up their children for remote instruction or in-person classes.

Mispagel said about 80% of the students in the Fort Leavenworth school district are signed up for on-site instruction. All of the students who are signed up for on-site learning attend classes on the same days.

Some of the other local districts have adopted what are commonly referred as hybrid models in which only half of the students attend in-person classes at any one time.

Mispagel said the Fort Leavenworth school district partnered with the fort’s Munson Army Health Center in making preparations for the in-person classes.

As in other school districts, students in the Fort Leavenworth public schools are required to wear masks, and other measures are being taken in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

Mispagel said the first day of classes went well. He said the district experienced only issues that are typical for the start of a new school year.

A change that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic are the plans for the school district’s annual Freedom Walk.

The event typically takes on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Mispagel said the Freedom Walk has been canceled for this year, at least in its traditional form. But school officials are planning a virtual event for Friday.

Ashley Razak, communications coordinator for the Basehor-Linwood school district, said classes in that district also seemed to be off to a good start Tuesday.

“Things were maybe a little slower coming in – taking temperatures, making sure everybody had their hand sanitizer and stuff like that,” she said. “I imagine it will get a little more efficient.”

The Basehor-Linwood started the school year with a hybrid schedule for middle school and high school students. Half of the Basehor-Linwood Middle School and Basehor-Linwood High School students who are signed up for on-site instruction attend in-person classes on Mondays and Thursdays. And the other half attends in-person classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. They all work remotely from home on Wednesdays.

All of the elementary students who are signed up for on-site instruction attend in-person classes Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. But they work remotely from home on Wednesdays.

Today, classes will begin in Lansing for students in kindergarten through the sixth grade as well as students who are new to the district’s middle school and high school. Classes will begin for all other students Thursday.

Students in the Leavenworth public schools began classes Aug. 24. But students in that district will be returning to classes today after their Labor Day break.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR