ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) – The Andover Public Schools Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday evening and voted 5-2 to move to a hybrid learning model for the two middle schools in the district — effective Monday, November 9 through December 4.

The school district said several factors, including percent positive case rate and the cumulative incidence rate in Sedgwick and Butler counties, have become more concerning in recent days and were factors in leading to the change. Concern about ICU bed availability in Wichita hospitals was also a factor.

Andover School District stated that currently, they had very few cases of COVID contracted at school. The larger concern for them is the spread in the community that is making its way into the schools, both in terms of positive cases and close contacts who must be away from school.

In a message to parents Tuesday evening, Andover School District superintendent Brett White said:

“The Andover Board of Education voted this evening to return to a hybrid learning model at both Andover Middle School and Andover Central Middle School beginning Monday, Nov. 9.

Our community’s health data, including an increase in cases, increase in positive testing rate and a shortage of ICU hospital beds in Wichita were key factors in making this decision. We also have seen an uptick in cases among students and staff in the past two weeks, and that — in addition to household close contacts and close contacts outside school — has led to more students and staff in isolation. We need to stabilize those numbers to make the rest of the year sustainable.

Students will follow the same schedules they did when we started the year in a hybrid model. As of now, this decision applies to the period of Nov. 9 to Dec. 4. We will continue to monitor health data and will convene our COVID Response and Assessment Team as needed.

While we know that hybrid learning is a challenge for some students and families, the majority of our board members believed this change back to hybrid learning for middle schoolers is in our district’s best interest to help slow the spread of COVID in our community. 

Elementary students will remain in an in-person learning model, and high school students will remain in a hybrid model.

This is where we need your help, Andover. We need you to follow the same safety protocols in the community as our students and staff do at school. That includes:

  • Wearing masks in public.
  • Social distancing.
  • Avoiding large gatherings.
  • Avoiding small gatherings,
  • or at least being smart with distancing and wearing masks.
  • Hand sanitization.
  • Don’t leave your home when you don’t feel well.

It is essential that we all band together as a community, and are smart and methodical in our actions, so we can slow the spread. I encourage you to join me and others in our community in making these sacrifices because I believe it is worth it if it means our students can remain attending in-person school.”

For more information on Andover Schools, click here.