Superintendent: Pandemic measures could last all year

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Based on what he is hearing from state officials, the Leavenworth superintendent said schools may be dealing with remote learning and hybrid schedules through the spring.

“This could last all school year,” Superintendent Mike Roth said.

He spoke Monday during a meeting of the Leavenworth Board of Education.

In March, the governor ordered schools across the state to close in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Students finished the 2019-2020 school year through remote instruction.

In-person classes are allowed for the current school year. But the Leavenworth public schools are currently operating on a hybrid school for in-person classes.

Under the hybrid schedule, only about half of the students signed up for in-person instruction are allowed in the school buildings at one time. Students utilize remote instruction when they are not in the school buildings.

The Leavenworth district also has some students who are signed up for only remote learning. The district also offers a virtual school for children in kindergarten through the eighth grade.

Roth told board members on Monday that he had participated in a videoconferencing meeting earlier in the day with the commissioner of education for the state.

Roth said school officials had been anticipating dealing with things such as a hybrid model for the first quarter of the school year or perhaps the first semester. But Roth said the message he received from state officials is that the district should be prepared to continue on the same path through the rest of the school year.

Also Monday, board members approved a contract with Easton Bus Service for the 2020-2021 school year. The company provides busing for the school district.

According to Roth, district officials estimate the cost for regular busing routes will total $659,033 for the school year. And the state will provide $411,821 in funding to pay for this busing.

District officials are anticipating an additional expense of about $1 million for busing for special education students. Officials anticipate the district will receive reimbursement for about 80% of these expenses.

“This is higher than it was last year,” Roth said of busing costs.

He said there are more busing routes because fifth-graders are now attending classes in the new Intermediate School, which is located next to Richard Warren Middle School.

He said the hybrid schedule also has resulted in additional routes.

Roth told board members the district’s enrollment is down by 174 students when compared to the previous school year. He said earlier enrollment counts had shown a larger decrease in students.

Roth said the official enrollment count for the state will take place Sept. 21.

“So we’re hoping to close a little bit more of that gap prior to the 21st,” he said.

He said district officials will reach out to parents who have not enrolled their children.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR