KSDE approves school reopening guidelines

KSDE does not recommend masks for students under 6th grade, as state educators said they could be a distraction in the classroom.

Posted: Jul 16, 2020 7:42 AM
Updated: Jul 16, 2020 8:59 AM

(TOPEKA, Ks.) Along with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announcing Wednesday schools will not start until after Labor Day, the Kansas Department of Education approved their recommended guide on how schools should reopen this fall. 

The nearly 1,100 page document, "Navigating Change: Kansas Guide to Learning and School Safety Operations," discusses three ways of teaching this upcoming school year: on-site learning, hybrid learning and remote learning. 

Some of the recommendations from KSDE include social distancing as much as possible, limiting space between students by: 

  • Reduce class sizes as needed, and maintain adequate staffing levels for teaching and learning to occur in a safe and equitable manner (i.e. band, choir, physical education).
  • Extra furniture should be removed from the classroom to increase the space available to provide distance between students.
  • Arrange student furniture to have all students face in the same direction. When possible, assign seats and require students to remain seated in the classroom.
  • Utilize outdoor spaces as appropriate.

As far as hygiene goes, KSDE recommends staff and students to wash their hands when they come to school and every hour of the school day.

KSDE does not recommend masks for students under 6th grade, as state educators said they could be a distraction in the classroom.

While the document does recommend students have their temperature checked daily, state educators said it could be too burdensome. 

“Temperature screening you will see listed as a best practice to have done daily, but at the same time recognition that practically if you have a school with a 1,000 students and you’re trying to screen every student daily, you are creating more problems than you are potentially solving. By having students mass together in a large group or trying to stay in a line for that amount of time. So, you’ll see recommendations empowering parents to screen with the information necessarily to do screening,” said Craig Neuenswander, School Finance Team Director. 

KDSE officials said Kansas school districts ultimately decide what recommendations they want to implement, alter or ignore for the upcoming school year. 

Last Thursday, Missouri's Department of Elementary & Secondary Education released a FAQ document guiding school districts in the state on how to reopen.

The state recommends school districts implement screenings, physical distancing and encourage masks for students in middle school and high school. 

It also reminds Missourians no statewide health mandates are being issued at this time, but local ordinances may implement these guidelines.  

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