March 22 Announcement & Frequently Asked Questions
We are looking forward to welcoming back all students in grades 6-12 currently learning via a hybrid model to a full five days of in-person attendance beginning March 22! Dr. Clemens shared rationale and thinking in his update last week. As plans, programs and services evolve, we want to keep you informed. Please read more about changes to our school calendar, meal distribution and other important items here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the district transitioning to full in-person attendance?
Since the beginning of the school year, our secondary students have been limited to two days per week of in-person attendance. It has always been our goal to increase face-to-face time for students when it is safe to do so. Through close partnerships with our local public health officials and continual monitoring of our own data, NKC Schools has determined that the point to expand in-person opportunities for face-to-face instruction is now.
Over the course of the year, many of our students have encountered great challenges with engagement in a hybrid learning environment, as demonstrated through participation in activities, grades and mastery of standards, and student feedback. Research demonstrates that most students are more successful when they have increased in-person learning time. A full five days of in-person learning would provide students with increased time to engage in hands-on activities like labs and lessons, participate in class discussions and connect with their peers and teachers.
Our schools are safe spaces for in-person learning with clear mitigation measures in place. Data demonstrates that the overall rate of transmission within the school setting is very low, especially when compared to our community. 99.6% of all COVID-19 cases at the secondary level have been traced back to exposure in the community as opposed to in our buildings. The overall trend of positive cases in our area is also consistently declining and has been since our return from Winter Break. Data collected since the start of school suggests that having students in school following strict protocols has likely helped reduce community spread.
Returning to full in-person instruction beginning March 22 will allow for a full nine weeks, one quarter, of face-to-face learning for students. Increased classroom time and opportunities for in-person support will benefit students as they finish the school year.
How many days per week will my student attend?
All in-person learners in grades 6-12 will attend five days per week. This schedule will continue through the end of the school year. Virtual learners will continue learning from home five days per week on their normal schedule.
When will students start going to school five days per week?
Each building has developed a phased return to school plan for their students with many already welcoming particular groups back! By March 22, all in-person learners will attend five days per week at their school. If you have questions about the exact timing for your student’s return to full in-person instruction, please contact the school office directly.
Can my student still attend on a hybrid model, instead of five days per week?
When NKC Schools transitions to a five-day week for secondary students, the hybrid schedule will no longer be available. Full attendance will serve as the district’s in-person option for students. Moving to this dedicated model will allow us to serve both our in-person and virtual students more effectively. We will continue to offer our fully virtual options for any family who prefers this choice for their student.
Will students attend classes on a normal A/B day schedule? Will there be any changes to the school calendar?
All in-person and virtual learners will follow an A/B day schedule all five days per week. An updated secondary rotation calendar is being developed to reflect this change. Look for this document to be available soon. As we previously shared with families, NKC Schools’ staff vaccination clinics may require a virtual learning day for all students or for those in specified grade levels. This would allow us to best serve our students and minimize disruptions to learning. Any updates to the existing academic calendar will be shared with all families when finalized and available on our website at nkcschools.org/calendar.
How will this impact the Wednesday two-hour early dismissal schedule at elementary sites?
There will be no impact to early dismissal at elementary sites. Secondary sites will begin utilizing a two-hour early dismissal on Wednesdays, as well, to allow for teacher collaboration and continued contact with virtual students. As a result of transporting students district-wide on this truncated schedule, several programs will be impacted.
I’m not comfortable with my student attending five days per week in person. I’d prefer for my student to attend virtually, rather than full-time in person. Can I make this change?
A transition at this time to full virtual learning is possible for families who do not feel comfortable sending their student five days per week in person. If you’d like to consider this option for your student, please contact the school principal.
Will students still be required to wear masks?
Yes. All students will be required to continue wearing a mask throughout the day at school.
What will arrival, dismissal, and lunchtime look like?
Each building is unique in their current procedures for safe, distanced arrival and dismissal as well as lunch. The Return to School team at each school site is adapting current procedures as needed to accommodate a greater number of students in common spaces like hallways and cafeterias. Look for more details to come from your student’s school.
Will students be able to socially distance in their classrooms?
One key aspect of our COVID-19 prevention protocols is to ensure physical distancing to the greatest extent possible. Distancing may look differently at each school site, given varying numbers of students who have chosen to learn virtually. NKC Schools will be supplying additional plexiglass dividers and reorganizing classrooms to provide further support for physical separation of students to the fullest practical extent. If you have specific questions about classrooms and spaces at your student’s building, please contact his/her school directly.
What will happen if my student is required to stay home from school due to exposure to COVID-19?
NKC Schools has clear protocols in place for families and staff to follow should they be exposed to COVID-19. If asked to stay home, students will be able to continue their learning virtually via Canvas, just as they have on their virtual hybrid days throughout the year.
Is there still a possibility that my student’s school may shift to virtual learning due to COVID-19?
Yes. NKC Schools closely monitors all COVID-19 case data for each of our school sites, taking particular note of those where case rates are of concern. We will continue to utilize the Clay County Health Department’s Interim Return to School Guidance to make these decisions. Three data points that warrant temporary (24-48 hour) closure include the case rate within the building, the slope of the trend line representing cases, and the school rate of positive cases versus the community rate of positive cases. If these factors rise to the level of concern at any school site, a cautionary communication will be shared with staff and families if possible to provide advanced notice. Should a temporary shift to virtual learning be recommended, all staff and families will be notified.
Will the district be providing vaccines to teachers and staff members?
Yes. NKC Schools has collaborated closely with our health partners throughout the winter to plan for on-site district vaccine clinics. Governor Parson recently announced that all individuals in Phase 1B-Tier 3 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, March 15. At this time, all indications point to the week of March 22 as being the timeframe during which we can host our onsite clinics. Thanks to our continued partnership with Truman Medical Center, NKC Schools is committed to providing opportunities for each of our district employees who elect to receive their vaccine as soon as possible.
Will COVID-19 testing be available at school?
Yes. NKC Schools will continue to provide rapid antigen testing for students or staff who become symptomatic while at school or work. Testing is not required of students or staff and is simply a service provided by our school nurses. See more information on rapid testing at school here.
I have further questions.
Please feel free to get in touch with your student’s school or utilize Let’s Talk if you would like to have further conversation.