Wichita Public Schools discuss plans for fall

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Public Schools held a workshop Monday to discuss potential plans for the upcoming school year. The district will have two more meetings this week to discuss plans before making a final decision on Monday, July 20.

“We are building a plan based on facts and the best possible evidence available at the time, which I might note does change,” said Wichita Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson. “When we bring to you our plan on July 20 for WPS 150 year of public education, it will be the best possible plan we can offer as of July 20.”

The school district laid out a plan which included best practice recommendations. The district has been stocking up on disinfecting supplies, plans to enhance cleaning efforts by custodians, as well as make building improvements to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.

“Studies have shown increased fresh outside air to be one of the most effective measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is in that interest that the HVAC initiative I’m about to cover has been developed and implemented,” said Wichita Public Schools Facilities Director Luke Newman.

Newman went over several plans to implement new installations in all USD 259 schools. The district plans to install water bottle filling stations, plexiglass dividers, signage to encourage social distancing, and HVAC initiatives to help circulate outside air.

Wichita Public Schools Division Director Terri Moses said there will also be changes to the visitor policies. The proposed plan would limit the number of people who can go into buildings. The limits will apply to volunteers, vendors, parents, and guardians. Moses said non-essential visits will need to be cut back such as donuts with dads and sharing items to limit contact.

“Parents and anybody that’s a guardian of a child we’re going to limit and do as much virtually as possible, but certainly in an emergency situation parents and anybody who’s a guardian of a child will have access to the buildings,” said Moses.

The future-ready plan is still being finalized. Dr. Thompson said things are changing daily and they are waiting to get guidance from the Kansas Department of Education and Kansas Board of Education, which they will get later this week.

“July 20 may not be the final, because again we still have another cycle before school starts back up to determine whether or not we’ll go with what we said on July the 20th to see what’s going to happen as people wear masks and social distance, to see if cases decline,” said Dr. Thompson. “If not, we’ll have to readjust. All is fluid and we have to be patient and wait to see what’s going to happen.” 

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