KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From the Northland to south KC, we continue learning more about how local districts are planning for a safe return to school.
Hickman Mills and Park Hill both plan to give parents a choice for online or in-person instruction. North Kansas City has also released its plan for fall.
Most school buildings sit empty in the dog days of summer. But in about five weeks, Hickman Mills is planning to welcome back students and staff.
“One of the things I’d say I really want is for us to proceed with abundance of caution because health and safety is the primary concern,” said Yaw Obeng, Hickman Mills superintendent. “So we wanted to give families a choice around what they felt was most important for their students and, at the same time, trying to keep the safety of our staff, too.”
Obeng is a brand new superintendent in the district and said, as of now, parents will have the option for sending kids back to school buildings or to continue virtual learning.
The district has also created a “green, yellow, red” approach. Green indicates a full return to school with kids in physical classrooms, yellow would be a blend of in-person and online, and red would be fully remote learning if necessary.
The district will move phases based on how coronavirus cases are trending in the area. In-person school will include a lot of safety changes.
“We’ll have our nurses on hand, doing temperature checks. We will have masks mandated, sterilized hand cleaning, doing deep cleaning of buildings on a regular basis,” Obeng said.
North of the river, Park Hill Schools will also give families the choice of online or in-person classes this fall.
Barbara Boyer is thrilled there’s a choice. She’s planning to send her high-schooler back to physical classes because virtual school last spring was challenging.
“He got depressed, a little quiet through all that, and it was harder to learn when it is just kind of presented and you’re left with it,” Boyer said. “It’s not the same as having a teacher there explaining everything.”
Park Hill is expected to continue measures it’s using in summer school now, to enforce social distancing with staggered recess and lunch times, and wearing masks during hallway transitions.
North Kansas City
North Kansas City Schools have also released their return to school plan.
They’re planning for all students to return in-person, but leaders say if families don’t feel comfortable sending kids back to school, they should contact school administrators by July 31 to work out alternate plans.
The district has also created a four-tiered plan for blended and full virtual learning if needed because COVID cases have spiked or gathering limitations are changed.