NKC Schools families brace for potential switch to all-remote learning

Posted at 9:12 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 00:04:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At the beginning of the school year, Melissa Sharp decided to send her daughter back to the classroom

"What we went through in spring, having to homeschool her while working, was very impossible," Sharp said.

But Sharp and her Lakewood Elementary third-grader in the North Kansas City School District are preparing to return to virtual learning.

This is after superintendent Dr. Dan Clemens sent parents a letter Tuesday, stating that district staff have been "stressed to a breaking point" and warned that a switch to remote learning will be necessary if the COVID-19 curve cannot be flattened.

"I hope to continue to look at it at a building by building basis," Clemens said. "The driving factor that could change that decision is as our workforce, if we have to quarantine due to positive cases, in certain sections of our district that could cause us to have to take that step."

Through contact tracing, Clemens pointed to parties and others social activities outside school hours as the main reason why the numbers are going the wrong way.

"What isn't working so well are the Halloween parties, the skating parties, the big sleep overs, the social engagements that are occurring," Clemens said, "and portions of our district, which are bringing kids into our schools that are testing positive, which then in turn requires us to quarantine many people."

Parents like Julie Osei agreed with Clemens.

"You think, 'Oh, it's just a couple of people,'" Osei said, "but when you add those people and all the people that they've been in contact with, you know, you can see how it just expands."

As a nurse, Osei kept her fourth-grader home until two weeks ago to limit exposure.

"I think the school district had worked really hard to provide the curriculum and prepare us virtually," Osei said. "But we just struggled, we had a hard time."

She said she hopes her daughter and other children can continue learning in-person, but believes it will only happen if people are careful this holiday season.

"It’s hard not to be with your family," Osei said, "but at the same time, you know, this is unprecedented and we're facing a crisis. Try to tone it down as much as you can. Because the community is counting on you to make a good decision."