Middle and high schoolers in SMSD are returning to in-person learning — what you need to know

Secondary students in SMSD have been in remote learning mode since Nov. 30 due to a shortage of certified staff at that time. File photo.

Middle and high school students in the Shawnee Mission School District will return to on-site learning in hybrid mode, starting Tuesday, Jan. 26.

The announcement of the learning format change came Tuesday afternoon in a letter to families from Superintendent Mike Fulton.

Here are the key details:

Hybrid learning mode

Secondary students will return to the hybrid learning mode they were in before the district sent all middle and high schoolers to remote learning on Nov. 30.

That means students who have chosen the district’s in-person learning option will learn on-site two days a week. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Students with last names A-Lamb will attend on-site school Monday and Tuesday and receive remote instruction on Wednesday and Thursdays.
  • Students with last names Lamc-Z will learn remotely Monday and Tuesday and attend on-site school Wednesday and Thursday.
  • All secondary students will be in remote learning on Fridays.

Why the change?

In his letter, Fulton said SMSD is able to return to hybrid learning “due to success in preventing COVID-19 transmission in schools.” He also cited increased staffing capacity after the district was able to hire student-teachers who graduated in December.

As of Dec. 21, when the district went on winter break, SMSD reported on its online COVID-19 dashboard that 41 staff member and 161 students were in active isolation due to testing positive or showing symptoms of COVID-19. Another 39 staffers and 240 students were in active quarantine at that time, due to potential exposure to the disease.

Elementary school students remain in same mode

Tuesday’s announcement only impacts middle and high schoolers.

Elementary students, Fulton said, will remain in full-time, in-person learning mode for the time being.

All students whose families selected remote learning at the start of the year will remain in remote learning for now, too.

Other JoCo districts are also transitioning to hybrid mode

  • Blue Valley: Middle and high school students return to hybrid learning on Jan. 19. Elementary students are learning in person.
  • Olathe: Secondary students return to hybrid learning on Jan. 6. Elementary students will remain in full-time, in-person learning.
  • USD 232 in DeSoto: Secondary students return to hybrid mode on Jan. 20. Elementary students will continue to learn  in person.