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Parents prepare for new learning environment after schools ordered to close

Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 23:31:17-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — With online teaching plans being worked out, parents and children are left in limbo wondering what's next.

The online learning Alex Field, a student at Apache Elementary School, is doing right now could be how the rest of the school year looks for students in Kansas, following Gov. Laura Kelly's order that all K-12 schools in the state to close and end in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

"I cannot wrap my brain around that, like what that means, as a parent, what our days look like, what the schedules look like," Jacinda West, Field's step-mother said.

West also is a special education teacher for Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools.

"My heart is breaking for my kids that I work with," West said, "who rely on me for some of that support that gets them through their day, their structured day."

While school buildings around the state will stay closed, education leaders are developing learning plans for all students.

"I've talked with the teachers that I worked directly with," West said. "And I told them that I want to be a part of their planning, specifically with my students."

Jacinda's other step-son, Andrew Field, attends Westridge Middle School and is worried about the unknown.

"I was scared that I couldn't get enough credits for high school," Andrew Field said.

As the specifics are worked out, West said she plans to create support groups in the days to come.

"I want to reach out my kids families and know that hey, we're here or there whether we're next to each other physically, we still have each other's backs and that we know that in the long run that whatever decisions are made, are made for our best interest," West said.