Olathe School District joins others, votes to delay start of classes until after Labor Day

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OLATHE, Kan. — Students in the Olathe School District will wait until after Labor Day to go back to school.

The district’s board of education unanimously voted Thursday night to move the first day of classes to Sept. 8.

They join other two other Johnson County districts, Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission, in the decision to delay the start of classes as cases rise in Kansas.

A revised district calendar has not been finalized yet, but it will be presented at the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 6.

Superintendent John Allison did say, however, that the district will not have snow days this school year because of the late start. Those days will simply be remote learning days.

The district said they don’t know when sports would start at this point. A lot depends on decisions from the Kansas High School Activities Association and teams in the Sunflower League, as well.

At the Olathe school board’s special meeting Thursday night, the district also presented its reopening plan. Families will be able to choose between remote learning and in-person learning this fall.

If needed, the district also has a plan for hybrid learning where students will only attend school on certain days of the week.

Face masks will be required for all students and staff during in-person learning.

Students involved in remote learning will have a daily interaction with teachers and expectations and grades provided, said Brent Yaeger, assistant superintendent of learning services.

Read more on the district’s plan here.

“This is going to be an evolving process,” Yaeger said. “Tonight is not the end goal and set in stone. We are going to have to adapt as we all have, as COVID has changed our world.”

In a survey the district did three weeks ago, 3,500-4,000 students indicated they were interested in remote learning. The rest preferred in-person. But leaders also know that was a snapshot at that time.

Allison expects that number to go up given the recent numbers of COVID cases.

Enrollment will open July 27, and at that time, parents will have an option to select in-person or remote learning. The decision is a commitment for the entire semester.

“I just ask our community, our teachers and our parents for patience,” said Joe Beveridge, president of Olathe’s school board. “There are no easy answers, and we will do the best we can under the circumstances. We are in this together.”

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