In an email communication to families in the district, the Lee's Summit R-7 School District outlined its plans to continue its current online model for the majority of its students.

The decision, according to the statement from Executive Director of Public Relations Katy Bergen, was based on communications between Superintendent Dr. David Buck, the Jackson County Health Department and other area healthcare experts. Before the school year opened on September 8, the district opted for a reopening plan where students through third grade would attend in-person classes and grades 4-12 would begin the year online. Part of the decision also included a bi-weekly review by the administration and Board of Education.

The full text of the district's email can be seen below.

Dear LSR7 Parents and Guardians:

Since mid-August, Superintendent David Buck has met weekly with the Jackson County Health Department to assess the status of COVID-19 transmission in our community so that the Lee’s Summit R-7 School district can make informed decisions about when it is safe for students who chose our in-person learning track to transition to learning in our buildings.

While incidence rates have trended down since mid-August, according to Jackson County Health Department data our community does not yet meet the county’s current criteria for transitioning to a hybrid model of learning for grades 4-12 students.

LSR7 will remain in virtual for grades 4-12 for the remainder of this week, as well as the week of Sept. 28. Pre-K-3 will remain in-person, as will special programs that received county approval to provide in-person services since the beginning of the school year. R-7 Online Academy students will continue to learn online through Jan. 21, 2021.

Dr. Buck will continue to stay in close communication with the Jackson County Health Department, the Kansas City Health Department and other metro superintendents. Moving forward, we will update you after Dr. Buck’s conversations with public health officials on Tuesdays and continue to make decisions about our learning models in two-week increments. We will also share any new information that could impact our learning models as we receive it.

We are encouraged that community transmission data is moving in the right direction. The most recent data from the health department indicates that the incidence rate in our community is trending down, while percent positivity rates sit at 12.41 percent and new cases are at 226.83 per 100,000 people.

As we continue to communicate closely with the health department, local pediatricians and county officials and review local, state and national research, we are hopeful that we will be able to transition to a hybrid model of learning for grades 4-12 safely soon.

To that end, please allow me to provide a quick reminder regarding how the district will handle communication when COVID-19 impacts members of our school community. When a positive COVID-19 case prompts the district to conduct contact tracing for risks of exposure in our school environment, we notify any students or staff who have been determined to be a close contact directly with specific instructions regarding quarantine and care. Everyone else in that school building or program will receive a notification that a positive case has been reported in their school building or extracurricular program. In an effort to protect student and employee privacy, we respectfully encourage all our school community not to spread rumors or false information about the health status of those in our school community. It’s important that we work as a community to support each other as we face this pandemic together.

As our school community continues to navigate the impact of COVID-19, please know that the following resources are also at your disposal.

At Home-Screening Procedures: This document outlines the at-home symptoms checks that students and staff should perform before coming to school.

Return to Work or School Flowchart: This document outlines the process the district will follow when an individual is exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Dashboard This dashboard will track new cases and new quarantines in the district on a weekly basis. Numbers reflect the most recent seven-day (Tuesday-Monday) period.

Thank you for your patience and support. We will continue to communicate our status as we move forward through the school year.

Katy Bergen

Executive Director of Public Relations

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