Leavenworth schools cancel field trips after parent vaccine requirement gets pushback

Education

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Controversy over COVID-19 vaccines is now impacting students in one local school district. 

Leavenworth USD 453 sent a notice this week that parents would be required to get vaccinated to chaperone upcoming field trips. 

Tiffany Rohde is thankful her oldest kids are about to finish the year in the classroom. 

“It’s a relief for in-person learning because, as a mom of six, remote learning wasn’t working,” Rohde said. 

Two of her kids were looking forward to end-of-year field trips. Kindergartners at David Brewer Elementary were set to picnic at the Leavenworth Landign, then walk up the street for a movie. Third graders were in for a trip to the Kansas City Zoo. 

Now all field trips are off. 

“I just don’t understand why children were promised one thing, then suddenly the powers that be and the school district decided they wanted to change it,” Rohde said.

The cancellation comes after a social media post that garnered a lot of pushback. 

Austin Perrin said his kindergartner came home with a permission slip that insisted parents tagging along on trips must be fully vaccinated. 

“That kind of upset me because it seems like none of the faculty or staff is required to have the corona vaccine and students don’t have the vaccine, so why do I need a vaccine?” Perrin said. 

Leavenworth USD 453 admits staff aren’t required to get the COVID-19 shot, but about 60% of employees are fully vaccinated. 

In a statement, the district said, in part, it recently allowed parents to volunteer with schools again but only if they’d already passed a background check and were fully vaccinated as “a protection for students and staff.” 

Both Perrin and Rohde insist they’re not against the vaccine, but they think with such short notice to get a dose before a field trip next week, other precautions should’ve been sufficient. 

“I think they could’ve worked out something else or just do extra universal precautions — double masking, wearing gloves, simple things — instead of changing the minds of parents for us and breaking children’s hearts,” Rohde said.

The district wouldn’t elaborate on why it decided to cancel the field trips entirely. 

There are only two weeks left of school this year. Parents are just hoping that, come fall, guidelines for parents are more clearly laid out so they know what’s required to be involved with their kids at school. 

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