Some Lee’s Summit families stressed about child care and more with short notice for virtual learning

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Some parents in the Lee’s Summit School District have basically 72 hours to figure out their child care situation.

Late Thursday night the school board voted to send Pre-K through 3rd grade students into virtual learning mode starting Monday along with older students. Now, families with young kids and kids with disabilities are grappling with the quick turn-around.

On Friday, 7-and-a-half-year-old Justin Johnson got off his last bus ride until mid-January at the earliest.

“He is in second grade. He has high functioning autism. He has hypotonia — low muscle tone — ADHD, and a chromosome issue,” said April Johnson, Justin’s mother.

She said Justin has a hard time focusing and has meltdowns. They’re issues that he’s been tackling at Woodland Elementary, and he’s seen progress thanks to staff.

“They have a routine, and all day long they know they know their schedule. They know where they’re going. They know what they’re doing, and that keeps them on task,” Johnson said.

But the COVID-19 situation has rapidly worsened in the Lee’s Summit School District. On Thursday night board members voted to reverse a decision just made on Tuesday. The result is that all students, not just 4th-12th grade, will transition to a virtual learning mode.

“I come here tonight with a heavy heart. This afternoon I learned one of our teachers lost their spouse to COVID-19,” said Megan Marshall, a Lee’s Summit board member.

The impact to the Johnson family is that now April must prepare for Justin’s schedule while moving around her own work schedule. She also has major worries for her son.

“I have concerns for the regression,” Johnson said. “If I wanted my child to be at home due to asthma or an ailing grandparent here or something, I could do that. If I want to send him to school, I could do that. Now I don’t have a choice,” Johnson said.

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