Q: Will those students choosing to NOT return to four days per week learning on April 5 have an option to continue the hybrid learning (two days per week in-person learning) model?
A: Students who choose not to return to four days per week of in-person learning would transition to a five-day asynchronous schedule (learning virtually from home) for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Students choosing this option would simply need to contact their home school. Students learning asynchronously would have Wednesdays to connect with teachers via Zoom.
Q: Why is the District offering four days per week in-person learning, and not five days per week in-person learning?
A: This plan has many benefits. This plan will allow us to continue serving nearly 900 families that have relied on weekly food kits that are distributed on Wednesdays. It would allow us to be able to seamlessly transition back to our current hybrid model in the event we would need to due to COVID-19 transmission data. In addition, it would give teachers time during the school day to meet with students who choose to learn asynchronously. As we move into the spring, we have MAP and EOC testing, and Wednesdays would allow us to bring in virtual and asynchronous students to test when face-to-face students are not in the building.
Q: Why is the District not bringing all students back for four days per week learning prior to April 5?
A: This extra time will allow our team to prepare secondary buildings for the additional students (furniture in classrooms/cafeterias/schedule changes, etc.). It will also allow for additional time for vaccinations to take place for our school personnel who choose to be vaccinated and to be able to observe COVID-19 data trends.
Q: What will be the expectation of students and staff on Virtual Wednesdays?
A: We will continue to ramp up our efforts to enhance Wednesday connections at the secondary level. It is our full expectation that staff Zooms on Wednesdays with all students. Students who are learning both in-person and asynchronously are expected to join in on Zooms and be a part of the learning.
Q: Will secondary students currently in Liberty Virtual School remain in this program?
A: Yes. Any secondary student enrolled in our Liberty Virtual School program will remain in this mode of learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Q: Will the District be able to effectively socially distance students at the secondary level when all students are able to return April 5?
A: LPS will distance students at the secondary level as best as possible. Throughout the pandemic, LPS has stated that we will follow guidance provided by the CCPHC and other health officials in making Return to Learn decisions. With the recent updates to the Full Opening Guidance to Schools document recently released by the Clay County Public Health Center, we will be working at each school site to best maximize distancing for staff and students that is compliant with the guidance.
Q: With students fully returning to secondary classrooms on April 5, and knowing that social distancing will not be able to occur all the time, are the quarantine guidelines for when students are at school or school events changing as well?
A: As part of the most recent Full Opening to Schools updates provided by the Clay County Public Health Center, direction on quarantine procedures for schools has been revised (see below). Accordingly, effective Monday (3/8/21), any identified 'in-school' close contact will not need to quarantine as long as they were properly masked, and assuming they are not exhibiting any Covid-19 symptoms. This revision applies only to school exposures and families are encouraged to consult with the CCPHC regarding exposures that occur outside of school.
If the school has implemented a mask mandate, and appropriate masks were being worn correctly by both individuals during the time of exposure in the school setting, the individual who came in contact with the person with COVID-19 can continue to attend school AND participate in school-related activities, so long as they can wear a mask and maintain social distance. Those exposed individuals should self-monitor for symptoms and should also stay home from school at the first sign they do not feel well. Individuals who were exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 while at school should continue wearing their mask at all times to further reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus, and they should continue to quarantine at home for the designated amount of days when not at school. The person who tests positive for COVID-19 is still required to isolate. It is important to note that if either the person with COVID-19 or the person exposed to that positive case was not following the school’s mask mandate or was not wearing their mask appropriately during the time of exposure, the close contact should follow previously implemented quarantine protocols and continue to quarantine at home for the designated amount of days.
Q: Will the District continue to stagger bell schedules to reduce high volumes of traffic during passing periods for secondary students when they return to four days per week learning?
A: Yes. Our secondary schools will be working on plans to reduce large volumes of student traffic in hallways and other spaces as much as possible. As you likely know, all of our secondary buildings look different, and we will lean on the expertise of our building administration teams and our LPS COVID-19 Response Team to plan accordingly.
Q: Is there a chance the District would have to delay this plan, or adjust the plan, later this spring in the event of an increase in COVID-19 cases at school(s)?
A: As we have stated regularly, this pandemic has been an extremely fluid situation and one that has continued to evolve. While we are optimistic that the data is trending in the right direction, we also understand that we might have to shift our plans accordingly in the event of increases in positive cases within our school community. We remain committed to being in close contact with the Clay County Public Health Center, the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department, and other local health agencies to ensure compliance with public health guidance.
Q: Will students be required to wear masks while at school?
A: Yes. This practice will continue in accordance with the updated CCPHC Full Opening to Schools document.
Q: Are teachers and school personnel being allowed opportunities for vaccinations?
A: Yes. Operation Safe has offered March 18, 19, and 20 as COVID-19 vaccination dates for all of our staff choosing to get vaccinated with the first dose. The second dose is expected to be administered in early-mid April. Plans for staff receiving the second dose of the vaccine are not yet finalized, but please know LPS would need to transition to a virtual learning day to allow staff the opportunity to receive the second dose later this spring. These events will take place at the mass vaccination site at the Cerner campus. We appreciate the efforts of all of those within our community for making this opportunity possible.
Q: Will the LPS COVID-19 testing site, located near Liberty High School, continue to remain open?
A: Yes. In fact, the District is currently working with the State of Missouri to procure additional test kits to allow testing to occur for the remainder of the school year.
Q: How will these changes affect larger district events, such as assemblies, graduations, fine arts events, and other activities?
A: There will be no changes to our guidelines for activities, events, and athletics at this time. Many events for the spring will continue to be held or offered in a virtual setting. The schools will communicate dates and formats for spring celebrations.