Kansas City Public Schools releases plan for bringing students back into classrooms

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Kansas City children may head back into the classrooms in November, according to Kansas City Public Schools.

The district released gating criteria based on the positive test rate for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

District leaders discussed the possibility of returning the youngest kids, preschoolers through third graders and special needs students, for hybrid learning on Nov. 9. That’s based on city health department data, which projects when the virus positivity rate may dip below 12%.

In order to start hybrid learning for older kids with masks and distancing, the positivity rate needs to fall below 10%, according to the district’s plan.

“I will commit to follow the science and make sure that we do everything we can and encourage our families and students to wear masks and practice social distancing,” school board member Manny Abarca said. “That’s the only way we can change this. We are in a place where we want to be back so bad, but the best way we can prepare is to wear masks and socially distance.”

The school district is going to use a 14-day rolling average to determine the infection rate.

Administrators face a challenge because in some Kansas City zip codes, the positive test rate is more than 24%. Minority neighborhoods in the 3rd and 5th council districts have been hit particularly hard. In other areas of the school district, the infection rate is down to 5%.

Board members are pushing for equity in how the district serves all students.

To get to the point where all kids are back in the classrooms five days a week with masks and distancing, the criteria calls for the COVID-19 infection rate to drop below 5%.

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