The Emporia Gazette
Local reactions are largely positive after the USD 253 Board of Education changed course on an earlier decision for gating criteria and voted to move into Phase 2 of the district’s reopening plan Wednesday evening.
“This is the right decision,” said Lucas Moody in a Facebook comment. “If Emporia continues on the right track then we should be able to take calculated forward momentum. This is good for the kids and good for the community.”
“Very happy they are letting our kids in school once a week,” Sharon Kenagy-Finley commented. “It will be nice to have more than one or two students per classroom. Wish it started tomorrow rather than waiting a week. Perhaps when we move to them being in school TWICE a week, they can actually be ‘face-to-face’ rather than still on zoom in the building? This is certainly a step in the right direction! Thank you.”
Others commenters had some concerns.
“I hope that we’ll see overall cases continue to drop even with less ability to maintain the 6 foot distancing protocol in classrooms,” said Brandi Smith. “While I understand the decision, it is frustrating to see a gating criteria that the board and health professionals spent days creating, evaluating, discussing and deciding over just thrown out the window. Why did they waste their time on that if it wasn’t going to be implemented?”
“In listening to them talk about the graphs and gaiting criteria, they said more than once that the numbers suggest we move backward, but they didn’t feel that made sense, so they chose to move forward...” Amy Hinrichs said. “I am not against them moving forward, I just don’t understand them adopting a criteria just to ignore it.”
Phase 2 will see the secondary hybrid learning model increasing its in-person cohort numbers by 25% beginning Wednesday, Sept. 30.
“Step 2 includes the onsite cohort group plus an additional 25% of the student population at both Emporia Middle School and Emporia High School,” Superintendent Kevin Case said in an email to district parents. “On average, secondary students will be on-site one day every week. More information regarding schedules for secondary students will be shared in the next few days. At this time there will not be any change in our current preK-5th grade learning environment.”
Mitigation practices will remain in place, including mandatory face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand=washing, as well as regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and common spaces.
The district will continue to practice a variety of health and safety measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. These include mandatory face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand-washing and the regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and common spaces.
Parents are asked to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19, including fevers of 100.4 or higher, chills, muscles or body aches, stiffness or rigidity, new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, headache, sore throat, lower respiratory illness symptoms (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), diarrhea or vomiting.
“We appreciate our ongoing partnership with our parents and our local health department and remain committed to the safety and wellness of our students and staff,” Case said. “f you have questions regarding academics or curriculum contact your students’ school. If you have questions regarding COVID-19 please contact Community Relations at email@example.com.”