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Wichita Public Schools will look at onsite learning option for 6th-12th graders

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Public School Board of Education is keeping a close eye on Sedgwick County’s COVID-19 cases. Tuesday, they will look at possibly changing the way students learn. 

It’s a week earlier than planned, but board members said it’s to give them more time to prepare. 

One USD 259 mother said it’s time for change. 

“I can hear the teachers struggling. I can see my kids struggling,” said mother Trish Hileman. 

With four kids in the district, Hileman said remote learning hasn’t been effective.

“It glitches, the kids are kicked out, and they are trying to learn, trying to hear, trying to understand and it’s all tough,” she said. “I want us to be as effective in educating our kids as possible.”

If approved by the board Tuesday, 6th through 12th grade would return to the classroom, but some board members said it could look a little different. 

“We’re looking at varieties of things, hybrid is one of them, bringing students back a little bit like we have the elementary is another,” said USD 259 BOE President Sheril Logan. “I don’t know how we’re going to land, but we’re going to find that out tomorrow.”

Board member Ben Blankely said the board will have to consider things like attendance, number of students and staff in quarantine, and the new COVID-19 numbers.  

“I anticipate some form of in-person learning will be proposed for secondary students, but I think it will end up being a compromise and not 100% of students in-person 100% of the week,” said BOE Member Ben Blankley.

Board Member Mike Rodee said it’s a difficult decision, as the numbers have been inconsistent and the future is unknown, but he said the decision will need to be made Tuesday so the board, teachers, and staff have time to prepare. 

“We need to make a decision that keeps staff and students as safe as possible,” said Mike Rodee. “We need to make it pretty quickly so we can be prepared for that decision.”

That decision has Trish Hileman hopeful it could bring her and other kids some normalcy. 

“These kids need schools to be in person where they have consistency, they have accountability, they can effectively learn,” she said. “I would be really excited and thankful if every student who wanted to go back in person, every family decided that was best for their kids, had that option.”

The school board members said they still have a lot to decide and break down before making the decision, but if they are to loosen those restrictions, parents would still get the chance to decide between Myschool Remote or onsite learning.


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