Digital learning to remain part of ‘new future’ as KCK schools plan to start remote

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas City, Kansas, school board voted unanimously Tuesday to conduct the first nine weeks of the school year online only.

KCK schools are in a unique position because the district has already made big investments in technology in recent years.

Even before the pandemic, all high school and middle school students were issued their own school laptop. Each elementary student also had their own school-provided iPad.

On Tuesday, July 21, the school board approved spending additional money to purchase technology for pre-K and early-education students to extend online learning this fall.

“We have all of these technological ways of teaching and learning,” Charles Foust, superintendent of KCK schools, said. “I believe this is going to be part of the new future of how we educate students. Even looking at the point of when there’s a weather related issue, could we, or should we go in this route with the virtual?”

KCK schools also delayed the start of the new school year until after Labor Day. Between now and then, the district is investing in training for its teachers, developing them to be more successful instructors in an online environment.

After nine weeks, the district will look to transition to a hybrid environment or bring students back into the school buildings. However, that plan is contingent on if the coronavirus impact has decreased.

The school board also voted to spend more than $750,000 in federal CARES Act money to buy Wi-Fi hotspots for those families, so kids can connect from their home. There are about 4,600 households without internet access in the district.

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