USD 232 postpones release of finalized learning plan, following Gov. Kelly’s push to delay school year

The USD 232 school district is delaying the release of a finalized learning plan for the upcoming school year.

The district had planned to release “Coming Back Together: USD 232 Learning Guidelines for 2020-21” on Thursday. The document creates a framework for on-site learning, remote learning and a hybrid model that would allow some students to learn on site and others to learn remotely.

In light of Gov. Laura Kelly’s Wednesday announcement that she plans to issue an executive order delaying the first day of school until after Labor Day, Superintendent Frank Harwood told school district families that they need “adequate time to ascertain what changes will be required to our plans.”

“We do not yet know how this change will impact the school year calendar in terms of student contact time,” Harwood wrote on Wednesday. “To that end, the administration, working with the Board of Education, will need further guidance from the Kansas State Department of Education.”

The Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday approved guidelines for the reopening of schools.

Harwood said the governor’s order will impact the district’s current draft plans for returning to school when the new academic year begins.

“As we have shared with you before, once we have an understanding of how we think things will proceed, something occurs that forces us to adapt and change,” Harwood wrote. “This is an example of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.”

The governor’s announcement comes in response to the growing cases of COVID-19 throughout the state.

“I can’t in good conscience open schools when Kansas has numerous hot spots where cases are at an all-time high & continuing to rapidly rise,” Kelly wrote on Twitter. “We can’t risk the lives of our teachers, administrators, custodians, our students & their parents.”

The school district plans to provide an update to families next week.

The USD 232 Board of Education on Monday reviewed and approved a draft version of the plan, which can be viewed here.