Shawnee Heights board adopts criteria for changing learning scenarios

USD 450 Shawnee Heights school board members meet Aug. 27, 2020, to discuss criteria for...
USD 450 Shawnee Heights school board members meet Aug. 27, 2020, to discuss criteria for switching between learning scenarios.(WIBW)
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 9:01 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - USD 450 Shawnee Heights board members talked over the criteria they’ll use to transition among learning approaches.

Board members met Thursday night in a special session. They adopted a criteria based on the Shawnee Co. Health Department’s ratings for new cases, positive test rates, hospital capacity, and other factors, mapped over prior two-week periods. Those figures will be balanced with district-specific data on cases in their schools, and how many staff are absent.

The board will review the situation at its meetings every two weeks. USD 450 interim superintendent Matt Hirsch said the goal would be to give parents a week’s notice on any changes, although he admitted any large clusters of cases in specific schools or classes might warrant more immediate action.

USD 450 board president Lauren Tice Miller said there are no easy decisions, and they understand everyone is experiencing struggles in the unusual environment. She said she’s confident the district and its families can successfully get through this by working together and communicating.

“Everybody’s exhausted. This is a lot of work,” she said. “We all want our students back. Our teachers have expressed that they’re tired from everything they’ve had to do to prepare for school but they’re ready to see their kids, and they’re ready for them to come back to the classroom - no matter what that looks like.”

Shawnee Heights previously adopted a plan to delay the start of classes until September 1, and to return using a hybrid in-person/remote model.

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