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Parents in Blue Valley remain in dark about district's plan

The district is paving its own path on what to do about the upcoming semester
Blue Valley Schools.jpg
Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 19:11:24-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — In a week where several Johnson County, Kansas, school districts have announced how they'll start the school year on Sept. 8, one of the largest districts is still trying to find its way.

On Tuesday, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment released updated recommendations to the county's school districts based on current COVID-19 data.

Hours later, the Blue Valley School District Board of Education announced it was going in a different direction.

"Things are changing moment by moment, that is what is most stressful, " Blue Valley School District parent Jennifer Savner-Levinson said.

Every day means less time for parents to prepare for the school year. Right now, they still do not have a final answer for their kids.

"We’re asking you to give us the choice and let us evaluate the risks and do what's best for our families," parent Michelle Mitchell said.

Mitchell was part of a group of people that attended the board's meeting Tuesday night.

41 Action News reached out to the district Wednesday to learn more about the local data they are using. As of the time this story was published, the district had not responded.

"This year is going to ebb and flow like no other year, and we will plan and we will use migration strategies," Dr. Chris Jenson, medical consultant and educator at Blue Valley School District, said on Tuesday night.

Savner-Levinson would like to see her daughter go back to in-person learning.

"She's a junior. She is taking physics and calculus and things that I can't help her with at home. She needs the structure of a school day, interacting with a teacher," Savner-Levinson said.

She is a former teacher and said she gets the stress from educators on safety precautions and kids wanting to go back to school. But, when it comes to making a big decision like this, she said it shouldn't be taken lightly.

"When people refer to data from the last five months, those are five months of no school. To use that data to reassure and prove and guarantee that things will go well is apples and oranges," Savner-Levinson said.

41 Action News spoke to several Blue Valley School District teachers, but none wanted to go on-camera.

One teacher did say that it's "very disheartening and concerning The Blue Valley Board of Education chose to not follow JOCO gating criteria."

The teachers union president for Blue Valley is working with the district regarding last night’s decision and did not have time to comment.