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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — In less than a month, the Blue Valley School District plans to bring all of its elementary students back to their classrooms full time.

District Superintendent Dr. Tonya Merrigan told parents on Monday that despite a few bumps during the first week of classes, they’ve had a great start to the school year. Classes started Sept. 9.

Elementary students are learning in a hybrid schedule currently while middle and high school students are completely online.

Now, assuming the district meets the necessary gating criteria in three weeks, Blue Valley plans to bring all elementary students back for full in-person learning beginning Oct. 5.

The district said this will only impact families that initially opted for in-person learning. Those who selected the all-virtual option will continue online.

In August, Blue Valley rejected the Johnson County health department’s gating criteria and voted instead for the Kansas State Department of Education’s criteria while implementing local data.

KSDE’s criteria breaks down into red, orange, yellow and green levels with red putting all grade levels online and green putting all grade levels in school buildings. Blue Valley started the school level in the orange level.

Merrigan said Monday the district will apply data from the week of Sept. 21 to determine what level the district falls in under KSDE’s gating criteria for Oct. 5-30. Blue Valley needs to be in the orange or yellow level to bring elementary students back full time.

Also during the week of Sept. 21, district leaders will review and determine the appropriate learning mode for middle and high school students.

In Monday’s letter to parents, the district stressed they will continue to implement health and safety strategies, like wearing masks and hand-washing, at school. But they’re asking for parents to help reinforce these practices at home, too.

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