Archive for Friday, July 24, 2020

Tonganoxie school board to meet again Tuesday to decide updated district calendar

Tonganoxie High School, home of the Chieftains.

Tonganoxie High School, home of the Chieftains.

July 24, 2020

The Tonganoxie USD 464 school board will meet again Tuesday to approve an updated district calendar for 2020-21, with school now potentially starting after Labor Day as districts statewide determine how to move forward as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Board members met Thursday to hear from administrators about potential plans for the fall semester.

Tonganoxie would start school Sept. 8, which is the day after Labor Day and would be consistent with other Leavenworth County school districts.

Teachers would start Aug. 21 instead of Aug. 13 and the district would create some “frontloading” with inservice days. That means inservice days previously scheduled throughout the school year would be moved to next month in advance of the start of the school year to allow for more training with preparing for distance learning, hybrid schedules and so on.

The proposal also would make the last day of school a week later than originally planned. The updated last day in the proposal would be May 28, 2021, with seniors’ last day being May 21.

A possible hybrid schedule discussed at Thursday’s special meeting would have Group A students attending on site on Mondays and Thursdays while Group B attends remotely on those days.

Tuesdays and Fridays would then have Group A attending remotely and Group B attending on site.

Wednesdays possibly would have both groups attending remotely in the morning, with the afternoon earmarked for students working on assignments, teacher personal development and advanced cleaning of school facilities.

Administrators will be meeting with teacher groups Monday to finalize the 2020-21 calendar and then the school board would vote on the updated calendar at the special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Tonganoxle Elementary School library.

The district also is working on an updated survey to send to parents as it works to navigate plans for the new school year. An initial survey was sent out recently, but district leaders are working to craft an updated that will be a lot more specific with what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Assistant Superintendent Tonya Phillips said at Thursday’s meeting that current plans call for students to choose either distance learning or the hybrid choice for the first semester.

“I think everybody understands this is a moving, changing process for us,” Feldkamp said.

A Sept. 8 start date would be in line with Gov. Laura Kelly’s latest executive order calling for K-12 schools in the state to start after Labor Day due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

That order was contingent upon the Kansas State Board of Education’s vote on whether to adopt the order. The state board’s vote ended in a 5-5 tie, which means the school districts are not required to follow the executive order.

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