UPDATE: The Lee's Summit R-7 Board of Education voted in it's regular session on Thursday, Nov. 19, to move grades pre-K - 3 to a virtual learning model. These grades will remain in the online model until January 11.
According to a statement sent to families in the district: "The Board and district administrators will convene on or around Jan 4 to review data from November and December to determine if students may return to in-person learning on Jan. 11. If data does not support the return, elementary virtual education will be extended until a target return date of Jan. 25."
A three-and-a-half our meeting of the Lee's Summit R-7 School District Board of Education on Tuesday evening resulted in a decision for much of the district to return to all virtual learning.
The special session of board was prompted by the surging community spread of COVID-19. Superintendent Dr. David Buck opened the meeting with a look at the data from the area, as well as inside the district before making a recommendation to the Board to move all grade levels into a virtual learning mode for the remainder of the semester.
After lengthy discussions the Board made three separate motions, resulting in grades 4-12 moving online. The board will meet to review the data and determine learning modes as early as January 14, but no later than January 21. A 5-2 vote kept grades pre-K-3 at full-time in-person learning for now.
District families and constituents were notified of the decision via email following the meeting. Full text of the email can be seen below.
Nick and Jason discuss the Lee's Summit R-7 School District's decisions to move grades 4-12 …
Dear LSR7 Parents and Guardians:
We shared yesterday that escalating COVID-19 cases across the Kansas City-metro and within our own school community prompted Board of Education members and district leaders to convene a special meeting this evening to discuss our learning models moving forward.
Tonight, the Board of Education voted to make changes to some of our district learning models.
The Board voted unanimously to move students in grades 7-12 who are learning through our in-person learning track to a virtual model starting on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Current plans call for virtual learning to continue through at least the end of the first semester, Jan. 21, 2021. The Board will meet to determine learning modes after Jan. 21 on or around Jan. 14, 2020.
- The Board voted 6-1 to move students in grades 4-6 who are learning through our in-person learning track to a virtual model starting on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Current plans call for virtual learning to continue through at least the end of the first semester, Jan. 21, 2021. The Board will evaluate data to determine learning models after Jan. 21 on or around Jan. 14, 2020.
- The Board voted 5-2 to keep students in grades pre-K-3 who are learning through our in-person learning track in a full-time, in-person learning mode.
- The R-7 Online Academy program is not impacted by the board decisions tonight. The specific schedules for our online students remain unchanged.
The Board decisions tonight follow a significant shift in our district’s COVID-19 data in a short period of time. The number of individuals in our school environments who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who have had to quarantine after being in close contact with a positive case have increased substantially across all grade levels since last week. You can see our district dashboard numbers here.
Through health and safety protocols, contact tracing and proactive quarantining, the district has been able to effectively limit COVID-19’s impact on our school community up until this point. But unprecedented COVID-19 transmission in our community and a sharp upturn in LSR7 cases and quarantines in recent days have served as clear indicators that our ability to staff our classrooms and provide consistent in-person learning experiences for all of our students are not sustainable in these current conditions.
Public health officials and local medical professionals at this time are acknowledging that while they are seeing a rise in elementary cases, they are currently recommending that our youngest students remain in a full-time learning model. During this transition to virtual the district will shift resources and substitutes to the pre-K-3 in an effort to support the in-person learning model for our youngest students.
From the beginning of the pandemic, our primary goal has been to provide the best possible learning experience for our students while ensuring student and staff safety. At this time, a virtual learning model is the most consistent learning model we can offer our secondary students participating in our in-person learning track.
And while our pre-K-3 elementary students will remain in their current model, the district will not hesitate to transition individual elementary buildings, grade levels or our entire elementary population to virtual learning when COVID-19 cases and quarantines and staffing challenges prompt a need for changes.
Here is the plan moving forward for our students transitioning to virtual learning:
- All grades 4-12 students in our in-person learning track will continue to operate in their current learning models through Friday, Nov. 20. Teachers and staff will begin preparing students and families for the transition this week. This may include sending home items with students or reminding them to bring certain items back-and-forth from home to school regularly that they may need for virtual learning.
- The district’s full-time virtual model for grades 4-12 will commence on Monday, Nov. 23. All students will communicate with teachers through Schoology and utilize Google Meets for virtual learning. Further instructions regarding how your child will access instruction will be shared with you by your building leaders and teachers.
- Current plans call for the Board to reevaluate our learning models for our virtual learners no sooner than January 14. This will ensure that we can look at the state of transmission in our community two weeks after winter break.
- Information about how virtual students can access meals and Before and After School Services will be shared later this week.
Finally, as our community faces this pandemic, we ask for everyone in our school community to play a role in decreasing the spread of COVID-19. This means staying home when sick, getting tested for COVID-19 when symptomatic and avoiding activities outside of your home as often as possible.
Thank you for your support. We do not take this decision lightly and truly appreciate your continued patience and understanding during these most challenging times.
Executive Director of Public Relations