LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — Lee’s Summit R-7 School District (LSR7) is giving parents one last chance to declare what they want for fall 2020, whether that's online schooling, or virtual learning with a chance for in-person classes.
That last window of opportunity for parents to change their minds will close at 6 p.m. Aug. 10.
The district’s most recent declaration was back in June.
"Things were very different in June,” LSR7 Superintendent David Buck said. "But at that point we had 21% of our family say they preferred to do virtual and the remainder preferred some version of in-person."
Right now, the plan is for things to be virtual when students return to learning on Sept. 8, however a final determination will be made Aug. 25 when the district hears back from the health department.
The health department will look at four key things Buck said will signal if Lee's Summit is still at significant community spread;
- the positivity rate on a 14-day average,
- the number of cases per day, per capita,
- the number of cases per teenager, per capita,
- and the number of teens getting COVID-19, identified through contact tracing.
“That's one of the reasons why the health department asked us to push off the date to Sept. 8, to give us a better chance to start in person,” Buck said.
Ross Cambiano's boys will go into first and second grade at Lee's Summit this fall.
“We just chose online, we even chose it on the first declaration. I don't know, we just felt safe with that,” Cambiano said.
Cambiano said he's also wary of in-person class because of the other people it could put at risk.
"In school, I just feel like there's going to be some kind of slight chance of something that could happen. I also have other things that impact me, too. I live with somebody else who can't get sick," he said.
Buck said the district knows how crucial in-person instruction is for children, and said they will work to get students back in school buildings as quickly as possible when the health department gives the go-ahead.
”With in-person, knowing it's the best model when Jackson County Health Department says it's OK, we are going to look at what lead time we need to get back and if that is just two, three days then we will do that,” Buck said.
Cambiano said it's upsetting that his children are missing key socialization, but fighting the spread of COVID-19 needs to come first.
“For my kids to have to miss out on in-person school is crushing,” Cambiano said. “For them to develop friends and all this stuff that you get from an experience of going to in-person school… but you know I'd like to see the world get better first.”