Operational Guidelines for the 2021-2022 School Year:
At last night’s USD 234 board meeting, the school board approved the recommendation on the attached Operations Guidelines for this upcoming school year. As you will see in the document starting on August 16, all students and staff will be required to wear a mask while in a school building and on a bus or school vehicle transporting more than one person (the wearing of masks on buses and school vehicles is a Federal Order that all schools must follow). The school board will reevaluate the wearing of masks while at school at each monthly board meeting. I will keep track of daily isolations and quarantines for our students and staff, and the board will evaluate those numbers and could possibly make a change to the requirement of wearing a mask.
We will not be doing temperature checks for students and staff when entering the building. Students and staff should self-monitor themselves prior to coming to school for COVID-like symptoms (attached) and if they are not feeling well, they need to stay home.
We will continue to coordinate with the Bourbon County Health Department on isolation and quarantine protocols. As you can see in the document, we will continue with the high risk and low risk categories for exposure to a positive person. High risk people are ones who are not wearing a mask, not vaccinated, are close contacts, and have not had COVID in the last three months. High risk people will need to quarantine a minimum of 10 days. Low risk people are ones who are wearing a mask at the time of exposure to a positive person or who have been vaccinated and are asymptomatic, who were not close contacts, and have had COVID in the last three months and are asymptomatic, will not have to go into quarantine.
In the Continuity of Services section of the guidelines, we will be providing full-time, in-person instruction. Remote learning will not be an option for students. Teachers will be expected to have all lessons available through their Learning Management System (i.e., Google Classroom, Seesaw) to students in quarantine or isolation. Virtual learning will be available to students instead of remote learning. Teachers will not be allowed to teach remotely if in isolation or quarantine. They will be expected to provide lessons for the substitute to implement.
As you can see at the bottom of the document, the guidelines could be changed at any time with school board approval.
My recommendation to the board was strictly based on my responsibility to keep the students and staff of USD 234 safe. With the high number of active cases in Bourbon County and the low vaccination rate for our area, it was my decision to follow KDHE and our health department’s recommendation of requiring masks in school. I agree with the board that we need to regularly evaluate active cases within the school district and in our area to see if changes could be made as we keep in mind the safety of our students and staff.
School starts Thursday, August 19th for students. With school starting we wanted to remind everyone about the Kansas School Bus Stop Arm Law. Kansas law requires all motorists to stop when approaching or overtaking a stopped school bus displaying its flashing red lights and stop arm. Motorists are to remain stopped until the bus is no longer displaying its flashing red lights and stop arm. Violation of this law not only endangers children but is punishable by a fine and court costs more than $420. Our bus drivers report drivers who violate this law to local law enforcement. Attached is a flyer with good visuals for when motorists are required to stop when approaching or overtaking a stopped school bus.
Each building will be having an open house as listed below. The buildings will be providing specific information about the open houses for your information.
Tuesday, August 17
o 4:30 – 6:00 – Preschool
o 5:00 – 6:30 – Winfield Scott
o 5:30 – 7:00 – Eugene Ware
o 6:00 – 7:30 – Middle School
o 6:30 – 8:00 – High School
Kansans Can Success Tour – August 16:
Parents and guardians are invited to attend the Kansans Can Success Tour on Monday, August 16 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the River Room (3 W. Oak St.) above Luther’s Restaurant. Dr. Randy Watson, the Commissioner of Kansas Education, and Dr. Brad Neuenswander, Deputy Commissioner of Kansas Education, will be in Fort Scott to discuss Kansas education, and they would appreciate your feedback.
Focus on Learning:
Student learning will be our focus this school year. I understand COVID made teaching and learning difficult last school year, but we have learned a lot from our experiences, and we need to make the commitment to Focus on Learning. Even with all the distractions and interruptions last school year we did see academic progress in our students, but we can do better. If we commit to Focus on Learning in a collaborative environment, our academic results will improve for our students in our pursuit of them becoming independent, responsible, and productive graduates of Fort Scott Schools.