Some Kansas parents calling on local schools to delay return to in-person classes

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Some Kansas families are organizing an effort to shape how schools return.

The Facebook page “Kansas for a Safe Return to Campus” was just created Friday and has nearly 3,000 members. Those members are calling on area schools to hit the brakes on a full return to in-person classes this fall.

Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to announce guidance for schools Wednesday.

“Within the last few weeks, we’ve seen infection go from low and stable to scary, frightening, and now we’re having the talk of going back to school in the fall,” said Jamie Larsen, a Lawrence parent and teacher. “As a mom, teacher and community member, and I’ve talked to other parents and teachers and caretakers, who are scared, and don’t want our kids to go back.”

Larsen is a special education teacher in Lawrence Public Schools. Her daughter is also about to start kindergarten.

While she fully understands the critical importance of in-person instruction and the support services schools offer, she firmly believes schools cannot reopen without fully following CDC guidelines.

Larsen believes in many Lawrence school buildings, social distancing standards will be nearly impossible to follow. So she and many fellow parents and teachers are hoping schools will consider starting the year with remote learning only.

“Get everything stable for COVID-19 rate of infection by county and really produce a robust online learning system for our parents to utilize that will allow kids to make progress in academics that they may have lost over the last several months,” Larsen said.

Lawrence administrators have said the district may consider in-person classes, remote learning — or a hybrid of the two — on top of its existing independent virtual school. 

Families are hoping whatever happens, strict safety measures will be laid out to keep everyone safe.

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