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KCPS moves forward with in-person learning plan

kcps board meeting.png
Posted at 10:04 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 23:35:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, School District is moving forward with plans to reopen its schools for in-person learning next month.

During a public meeting on Wednesday, district leaders presented how they will transition to in-person learning over phases.

Students in kindergarten through third grade will return to school buildings on March 15, followed by fourth to seventh grade and high school freshmen on March 22. Eighth graders and students in 10th to 12th grades return April 5.

During public comment, one student identified as Jonathan, voiced concerns about the transition.

"Many students have high-risk family members at home and returning to school would not only impact students and family, but hundreds of people at risk," he said.

Jonathan also said his fellow students might not be able to keep their distance.

"One of the largest safety concerns that students have is the inability to enforce social distancing measures," he said.

During the presentation, district officials said they've measured each classroom and will have capacity limits to ensure students are separated. They've also adding sneeze guards, plan to ensure students have water bottles and require face masks.

Students will only eat in classrooms, not the cafeteria.

For transportation, there will be assigned seating and only one student per bus seat.

The district will continue to offer its virtual academy, or parents can choose hybrid learning. On Wednesdays, there will be no in-person classes so buildings can be cleaned.

When it comes to vaccinations for teachers and staff under 65 years old, the district is waiting on the state of Missouri to move to the next phase in order to receive the shots.

Board members like Rita Cortés expressed gratitude for the plan but also raised some concerns.

"We need to do everything we can based on all the lessons that have been learned both in schools and in other essential services in the last 12 months," Cortés said, "and I think our plan takes all those issues into account."

KCPS Board Member Jennifer Wolfsie had similar thoughts.

"I am afraid, quite frankly, that we will lose students in this process and that's what really concerns me," Wolfsie said, "because we already lost a ton that we don't know what's going on with them, I don't want to lose more."

More information about KCPS' reopening plan can be found on the KCPS website.