USD 232 votes secondary schools to return to on-site learning

Bella Wiltfong, Staff Reporter

USD232 website- Visual explaining the options for learning this year

Unified School District 232 secondary students will return to on-site full-time learning beginning Monday, Feb. 1.

On Jan. 11, the USD 232 Board of Education chose to move students to on-site learning, due to where they currently stand in the gating criteria.

The decision is conditional on whether the school district remains in the green category of the Kansas schools gating criteria. The board may call a special meeting over the next two weeks to reconsider the learning environment if it fluctuates. 

Superintendent Frank Harwood suggested implementing a safety/risk-based modifier to the score of the Kansas gating criteria before deciding on the final color category. 

Data reveals that schools can provide a higher level of spreading the virus due to the many mitigation protocols in place. 

The modifier will analyze the percentage of student and staff quarantines and isolations by indicating a lower or higher predominance of COVID-19 amongst students and staff. 

The raise in quarantines and isolations causes significant interruptions to learning.

As of now, the percentage of student/staff quarantines and isolations is at 2.84 percent. The USD 232 school district has not been higher than 3 percent since the beginning of the school year. 

The change in learning conditions will not affect the families that chose the optional remote learning model for their students during the second semester.

Students had mixed feelings about returning back to school and continuing their learning at school rather than online.

“I feel that the decision to go back full time in school was rushed and primarily due to a lack of accountability on the part of the students that would not complete their work. I am not excited to go back to school, because I felt more productive in the at-home learning model,” said Cole Krudwig, a junior at De Soto High School. 

Other students, like freshman Gabby Wiltfong, were excited to go back to school.

 “I’m excited to finally not be on a computer all day, and I’ll be able to see my friends again,” Wiltfong said. 

Regardless of how students feel, moving forward into full-time learning is a step in the right direction to rebuilding what COVID-19 has taken away from our students.