School board votes to continue remote learning through end of calendar year


School board decides to continue remote learning through January 18, 2021.

Ellie Stucky, Editor

The USD 266 Board of Education met Tuesday and voted to remain in the remote learning model until at least through December. 

Superintendent Chad Higgins proposed the idea saying that, in his mind, there was no way the board could safely bring students and staff back to school before then. He also kept parent’s comments in mind. 

“We can [eventually] run some days and some schools,” Higgins said. “But I think we heard loud and clear, really, for the last month or two months that consistency is significant.”

One of the issues keeping schools from opening back up is the lack of staff members. Board member Jeffrey Jarman stated that the evidence was clear and mentioned the need for more substitute teachers, paras and bus drivers. 

“I wanted to make it clear that I think the evidence [is showing] that we are significantly short on staff to deliver school,” Jarman said. 

Higgins said the district would continue to give teachers the option to come into the school buildings to teach their classes.

“We have to trust our teachers to stay masked and stay six foot apart when they are in the building,” Higgins said. “[…] Many of them like to teach from their classrooms right now. It’s where all their materials and supplies and equipment are and it’s worked so far so I don’t think we’ll change that.”

Higgins said he may try to see about getting elementary and middle school students back into the classrooms sooner, but he wouldn’t want to rush high school back into school.

“I think, especially with the way positive cases in our high school kids [have been] over the last month,” Higgins said, “I’m not going to be in a big hurry to get high school kids back [to school].”

The district will abide by guidelines established by KSHSAA for school activities. Practices will continue as normal and no spectators or non-essential personnel will be allowed in those facilities during practices, performances or competitions until at least January 28, 2021.

Board members will meet again Dec. 14.