TOPEKA, Kansas (KWCH) - Gov. Laura Kelly is closing all K-12 schools through the end of the semester as the state responds to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kelly’s Tuesday afternoon announcement comes as several school districts already had extended spring breaks and colleges and universities had moved to online instruction for the rest of the school year. Kansas has at least 18 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as the pandemic continues to spread in the state, officials said.
Earlier Tuesday the House approved a bill to give laid-off workers another 10 weeks of unemployment benefits as employees face virus-related business closures.
RESPONSES FROM SCHOOL DISTRICTS
Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) Superintendent, Dr. Alicia Thompson
At 4pm today, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that Kansas schools would be closed for school as we know it through May 31. The Governor’s executive order means that the remainder of the school year in the Wichita Public Schools will not occur in a traditional school environment that brings large numbers of students and staff together in one location.
understand the hardship that school closure places on our families, as well as the social and emotional impact it may have on our students. I also realize that this announcement raises a lot of questions for you. It does for our WPS team too. Many district leaders have been working together this week, and will continue to do so, in order to work out answers to all of these questions. More information will be available in the coming days.
Here’s what we know today:
School buildings will be closed for traditional classes beginning Monday, March 23. Learning will continue, but it will look different. Kansas districts have been directed to develop “continuous learning plans.” Exactly what that looks like for WPS is yet to be determined. It is important for you to understand that while school will look different, learning will continue in some form. There will be no delivery of any type of instruction to students prior to Monday, March 30, 2020. Please remain tuned in to your email and phone messages, as well as the district web site, for specific instructions about learning opportunities going forward.
Spring events and athletics will be cancelled. The most common questions we have received have been about prom events, spring athletics, and graduation ceremonies. The Governor’s order means that these springtime traditions will NOT occur as scheduled. I know how important this time is for our students and their families, and I’m sorry that your students will not get the opportunities they have been looking forward to. As we plan for the future, we will talk about how we will celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates in an appropriate manner.
Students will still be able to graduate. I will be working with our Board of Education and our high school leaders to determine what needs to be done in order to allow our graduating seniors to complete graduation requirements and receive their high school diplomas. Detailed information will be sent to seniors and their families in the next several weeks.
Meals for students will continue. We are working on a plan to provide breakfast and lunch to students through the remainder of the school year. We will send you additional information soon about detailed arrangements for grab and go meals which will be available at no cost to children 18 and under, distributed at locations throughout our community.
Valley Center (USD 262) Superintendent Cory Gibson
Greetings Hornet Families,
Today, March 17, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly announced all public school facilities across the state are to close immediately for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year as a response to COVID 19.
We understand this will place hardships on our families and staff. Please know that we have been working on contingency plans for the past few weeks, and we will continue to focus our efforts, given the parameters we are under, on what is best for our families.
Although school facilities will be closed, we are making plans for education to continue for all students. During the contingency planning sessions, USD 262 Leadership teams have been discussing a variety of topics including how we can best meet the ongoing learning needs of our students, provide breakfast and lunch, and connect families to child care resources. We know there are many questions, and we are working with KSDE, KDHE, and other related agencies and will give you the most up to date information as soon as we possibly can.
We are committed to working together as a community to support one another throughout these unprecedented times, and communication will remain a top priority. We will continue to update you via email and social media. I am also planning to host an online session to provide additional information and to give an opportunity for questions.
The Valley Center district announced it is holding a meeting on Facebook Live. at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Derby (USD 260) Superintendent Heather Bohaty
Derby Public Schools will be closed for the remainder of this school year. This closure is an effort to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is under an executive order from Governor Laura Kelly.
Providing quality education and a safe environment for our students, staff and community stakeholders is always our top priority and will remain our priority. Derby Public Schools is committed to continuing to provide exceptional services to our community. While we know this is in the best interest of our community as a whole, we are aware it certainly creates many questions and challenges for our students, families and staff. We will have educational opportunities for our families. Additional information will be shared in the coming days including:
what continuous learning for our students will look like for the remainder of this school year
how we will continue to serve students with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)
details on free meal services for children ages 1-18 in our community
events (such as graduation) which would be postponed to a later date
At our Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 23 we are recommending that staff will continue to be paid during this time. Staff will receive more information on what their work schedule will look like in the days ahead.
An online Zoom meeting will be scheduled next week for both staff and families to receive further information and ask questions directly to myself and other district leadership. The date and time of this meeting and all other updates will continue to be communicated with families and staff via Skylert, our mass notification tool, and posted on www.derbyschools.com. (Please note our website has a translation feature. Click on "Select Language" and choose your preferred language from the dropdown.)
As a reminder, this school closure is in response to the current public health crisis. The focus should remain on preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please be mindful of the following:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing (cough/sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue)
Please keep sick children at home
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
Again, Derby Public Schools is committed to continuing to provide exceptional services to our community. These services will look different during this period of time, but do know we are here to support our students, families and staff.
Andover (USD 385) Superintendent Brett White
Dear Andover Families,
This afternoon, Gov. Laura Kelly announced that all Kansas schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year to combat the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in our communities.
Andover Public Schools has been working with the Kansas State Department of Education about the possibility of school closure. Now, with Gov. Kelly’s decision, we can move forward to develop more concrete plans for how to handle the coming weeks.
KSDE has convened a Continuous Learning Committee to develop a comprehensive plan to assist districts in delivering education to students while school buildings remain closed. We expect a draft of that plan by the end of the day Wednesday. From there, Andover Public Schools is convening our own COVID-19 task force of administrators, staff and community members to adapt the state’s recommendations for our district. Our local task force will meet remotely beginning on Thursday.
There are many questions that we simply do not yet have answers for at this time. With the state’s guidance, and with the dedication, innovation and creativity of our staff and families here in Andover, I am confident that the next few days will bring clarity around many of these questions. I expect to be able to share more details of our plans by the end of the week, and sooner if possible. You also may visit usd385.org/coronavirus or email email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this unprecedented time.
Hays (USD 489) Superintendent Ron Wilson
USD 489 Families,
Today, March 17, 2020, Governor Kelly announced all Kansas school facilities will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. I understand this decision does place tremendous hardship on our families and staff and impact the social and emotional well-being of our students.
We have begun working on contingency plans, including how we can meet the ongoing learning needs of our students, as well as how we can continue to provide breakfast and lunch for our students. These plans are still being put together, and we will be sharing them as soon as we know more. Next week we will plan to recognize our traditional Spring Break and any information that will be shared will come after April 1.
Our staff and board of education will also be working on other critical issues, such as what this all means for our seniors, and how this will affect our next school year and what impact this will have on our school employees. We will also provide updates on these issues as soon as the information is available.
USD 489 Hays is committed to working together as a community to support one another throughout these unprecedented times, and communication will remain a top priority. Please stay updated as we will continue to post to our school’s live feed on our websites, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts.
As a reminder, this school closure is in response to the current public health crisis. The focus should remain on preventing the spread the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is also referred to.
Please be mindful of the following:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing (cough/sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue).Please keep sick children at home.Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.Follow additional guidance from these sources:
National Center for Disease Control (CDC)Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)
Ron WilsonUSD 489 Hays Superintendent#EveryStudentEveryDay489