North Kansas City Schools says switch to remote learning may be necessary

Current pace 'not sustainable,' superintendent says
North Kansas City schools
Posted at 4:29 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 17:35:11-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The superintendent for North Kansas City Schools said 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.

In a note to families on Tuesday, Superintendent Dan Clemens said the district’s 600 substitutes and 200 transportation employees are being stretched thin because of symptomatic people who still come to school.

“Individuals who come to school symptomatic and later test positive are causing many people: teachers, substitutes, school personnel and bus drivers, to stay home for a minimum of 14 days,” Clemens wrote. “While Human Resources has identified employees within our organization in support positions who can step in and help temporarily, the pace of the last two weeks is not sustainable.”

Clemens warned families that “if we cannot flatten the curve, we will not be able to continue face-to-face instruction.”

The superintendent stressed that building and district closures are still avoidable, but only if everyone participates in efforts to stem the spread of the virus, including hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing. Anyone who feels sick should stay home, Clemens said.

North Kansas City Schools relies on guidance from the Clay County Health Department, which considers three metrics when determining whether to recommend temporary school closures: 14-day case rates; the slope of the trend line; and the school rate of positive cases vs. the community rate.

Clemens said district administration are monitoring cases at all schools, particularly where the numbers are “concerning.”

The district will directly reach out to families at schools where temporary closures seem “imminent,” Clemens said.

Unlike other Kansas City metro districts that started the year fully remote, North Kansas City Schools began with a hybrid model.