In phone messages and emails sent to residents on Tuesday evening, the Lee's Summit R-7 School District relayed recommendations from public health officials.
The recommendations, which will be presented to the the Board of Education at a special meeting on August 6, included delaying the start of the school year to Sept. 8 or after and that all districts in the metropolitan area prepare for 100 percent virtual instruction.
Full text of the email can be found below.
Dear LSR7 Families:
Since the pandemic began impacting our school community earlier this year, Lee’s Summit R-7 Schools has recognized the need to be prepared to respond to evolving guidance and new information as it prioritizes health and safety for our school community.
Being prepared to address multiple scenarios throughout the 2020-21 school year is in part why LSR7 developed a new all-online option through the district’s R-7 Online Academy, as well as multiple proposals (five-day-a week, hybrid and virtual instruction) for what in-person learning could look like.
Earlier this month we shared that Jackson County Health Department guidance would strongly inform our plans. This afternoon, Superintendent David Buck spoke with county, public health and metro superintendents in a conversation that provided important clarity and direction for our path forward.
Public health officials indicated to superintendents that the Kansas City-metro area is experiencing significant community spread due to reported cases and positivity rates. Officials then provided a clear recommendation: Starting school on Sept. 8 presents the best chance of us learning in-person in our school buildings this fall.
Our partners in the Jackson County Health Department are public health experts, and we are sharing tonight that we plan to recommend the postponement of our school year to Sept. 8 at a special Board of Education meeting scheduled for Aug. 6.
Public health officials have also signaled to school districts that we should be prepared to implement all-virtual instruction if community spread has not improved by Sept. 8.
This new information, as well as public health data and additional feedback, has also informed the next steps we would consider when it is deemed safe to return to in-person learning. If the reduction in community spread provides us the opportunity to hold some type of instruction in-person, we plan to present a proposal to provide in-person instruction five days a week for our preK through third-grade students and a hybrid model for grades 4-12 when possible. We do not anticipate that this new information will impact our plans for R-7 Online Academy other than a new start date of Sept. 8; instruction will continue as planned for all those who have declared a desire to learn online this semester.
However, following the Board of Education meeting on Aug. 6, we plan on opening up our declaration process one last time from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10. With new information regarding what in-person instruction could look like, families may switch their declaration or declare their in-person vs. online choice for the first time if they previously missed the window.
It is important to emphasize that the district’s reopening plan has yet to be approved by the Board of Education, and all of our plans are tentative and subject to change. However, we felt it was important to proactively share the information we learned today and its impact on our plans as quickly as possible.
Please consider this a preliminary communication of our upcoming plans and know that we are working hard to be able to provide and share additional information following the BOE meeting.
Thank you to each and every school patron who shared feedback, concerns or support during this challenging time. Regardless of what lies ahead, we are committed to prioritizing health and safety and embracing flexibility as we work to meet the needs of our students, families and staff.
Executive Director of Public Relations