Olathe school board votes to bring middle, high schoolers back to in-person learning

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OLATHE, Kan. — The Olathe school board has voted 5-2 to bring all students back to in-person classes at the beginning of March.

The board’s decision applies to middle and high schoolers at Olathe Public Schools who are currently in a hybrid learning schedule. Grades Kindergarten through 5th are already learning in-person.

These older students will switch to full-time, in-person learning on March 1.

Any students who opted for remote learning will not be effected by the district’s change.

The school board also decided Thursday night to allow teachers to get out of their contract with no penalty if they do not wish to return to the classroom.

Superintendent John Allison sent a letter to families Thursday night saying, in part:

“It’s important to note that this decision by the Board was not made lightly. Citing declining community numbers, internal numbers including low absence rates, declining COVID-19 numbers in our school, and limited spread within our buildings, board members voted 5-2 to bring secondary students back to full time in-person learning.

“Providing the best quality educational experiences for our students, while balancing the safety and health of our students, staff, and families, is a priority. We will continue to review numbers regularly and watch for trends within our buildings.

“Please do your part to help us by continuing to wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home when you are sick, keep your children home when they are sick and practice social distancing. We need a community effort to keep our schools in session, our students and staff safe and learning together.”

Olathe is one of a few metro school districts who have made big changes to their learning mode as daily new COVID cases decline across the Kansas City region and vaccinations begin.

Kansas City Public Schools announced late last month that its students will also return to classrooms in March.

Next week, Gardner-Edgerton’s secondary students will start a hybrid schedule, and the Spring Hill school board also voted to bring all grade levels back to in-person learning, as of this week.

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