KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With rising COVID-19 cases across the Kansas City metro, Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools superintendent Mark Bedell said he cannot recommend that in-person classes resume at the start of the fall semester.
Instead, KCPS leaders are recommending the district have a delayed start, beginning Sept. 8, with 100% online learning at first.
From there, if Kansas City, Missouri, sees a consistent decline in COVID-19 cases for 14 days, they will first consult with the KCMO Health Department and then enter Phase II, where pre-Kindergarten through third grade would move to in-person learning. Fourth through eighth grade would continue in Phase III with ninth through 12th grade in Phase IV. Phase V would be 100% in-person if case counts continue to decline.
However, if and when in-person classes resume, masks will be required. Rising local case counts within the district will be a top factor when considering reopening.
In a KCPS survey, more than 5,500 parents weighed in, with more than 78% saying they want in-person or a hybrid of both in-person and online learning.
All of this comes comes after the KCMO Mayor’s Office and KCMO Health Department recommended the district delay the start of school and go virtual for the first few weeks.
The same day the KCPS Board Meeting where plans were laid out, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson reiterated to all districts across the state that it is up to each one to make the best call "because all school systems are going to be different."
“Every school district's different," Parson said during a press briefing on Wednesday, "and that's why I think it's very difficult to make a blanket policy when somebody asks a date.”
According to KCPS, all of the recommendations presented to the school board Wednesday night still are subject to change.
KCPS said full details of its back-to-school plans will be shared with families and staff as soon as they are finalized and approved.