I’ve grown weary of the 816-986-1101 phone calls.

Some of it is the fact I have come to respect the work of the new communications department and find myself dreading what might be on the other end of that line. Also, and I am sure I am not alone, I have to seemingly always refer to the e-mail to find the real details of whatever this week’s “good news/bad news” call is about.

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That said, I appreciate the communication that came from our LSR7 School District Tuesday announcing a switch to hybrid learning beginning the week of Oct. 5.

While the announcement gives parents fairly short notice — it comes less than a week after the district told us COVID-19 numbers weren’t trending in a way that would allow a return to in-person learning — it was surely met with a range of emotions from parents and students alike.

It’s difficult to put any ballpark percentage on it. If we trust the surveys earlier this summer, we knew some 7 in 10, or more, parents wanted to be in person this fall. COVID has taken many twists and turns since that survey, though.

Are 70 percent of parents celebrating this decision to get back into our buildings? Possibly. Keep in mind some 20 percent of our student population opted for the Online Academy and will not be back in the classroom at all this semester. And some parents, reasonably, will have concerns about how in-person learning looks starting next week, specifically when it comes to distancing, recess for our younger learners, lunches, hygiene and one-on-one time with teachers.

Not to mention, we still have the nagging “what if?” issues, specifically: What if an outbreak happens in a classroom, but not an entire building? What if we begin to see COVID cases among our elementary students (who most likely would be asymptomatic) brought home and affecting families? What if teachers have to start using long stretches of sick leave and personal time?

If we’ve learned anything since March, though, it’s that we cannot possibly plan for every, single contingency or scenario. No organization, private business, public entity, church, restaurant or nonprofit can or has accomplished such a feat.

Results are all over the board, too. Blue Springs School District has been in, five days a week, as long as LSR7 and is succeeding with in-person learning. Over in Marshall, Missouri, an outbreak at that district will send students home Sept. 30 for online learning until at least Oct. 15, district officials have announced.

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The only constant is likely this: we haven’t seen the last 816-986-1101 phone call.

Just take a deep breath, press “1,” listen then refer to the e-mail.

Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, its employees or any other guest contributors.

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