KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With concerns swirling around in-person learning from some parents, students and teachers, Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools leaders laid out their plan to safely have students return in a month.
District leaders propose students in kindergarten through 3rd grades return to school buildings on March 15, followed by fourth to seventh grades and high school freshmen on March 22, with eighth-graders and students in 10th to 12th grades returning April 5.
There are a couple options for parents to choose from when in-person starts,
"We will continue with our KCPS virtual academy and they (parents) will also be able to choose hybrid learning, meaning their children will come back to school on two days a week, and in some cases four, and participate in distance learning on the days they are not in school," KCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Marla Sheppard said.
KCPS classrooms have had sneeze guards installed at student desks and sanitizing stations have been added throughout buildings. Social distancing will be required, while masks and water bottles will be provided and required as well.
"We are not using the water fountains they way we customarily have, so they will have those water bottles," Sheppard said.
The students will not eat breakfast or lunch in the cafeteria. Instead, meals will be in classrooms.
On school buses, students will have assigned seats and board from back to front to maximize social distancing.
"This should limit the interactions of the students passing down the aisle way in front of one another," KCPS Director of Transportation Chris Walls said.
The district also plans to improve its air quality in the buildings and has a plan for staff vaccinations when teachers and administrative staff are eligible.
"We've all got to do our part and the district will do everything we can to make sure the adults in this organization are protected," KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell said. "You will see that on the first day."
The KCPS Board of Directors still must approve the plan.
"I think they've done their homework, and I think that's why it's taken them so long for us to go back compared to other schools, because they want to make sure it's done well," KCPS teacher Lydia Senate said.
Senate said it's been a tough year and she's eager to go back to teaching in-person.
"It's really hard as a teacher not being able to see your students," she said.
The district and school board will continue more in-depth conversation about the reopening plan Wednesday during its next meeting.