WRITER: Dylan Lysen

With remote education set to begin, Lawrence teachers and parents are wary but focused on making it work

As parents in the Lawrence school district wait to hear plans regarding the resumption of the school year through remote learning, some are wary of the loss of the social aspects of school, as students will be mostly learning from home. Meanwhile, teachers are concerned the new remote learning operation may be stressful for everyone involved, including teachers who are parents of students themselves. But no ...

Lawrence school board to consider reducing graduation requirements with switch to remote model

The Lawrence school board on Monday will consider reducing high school graduation requirements for the current school year to help seniors graduate on time amid school closures for the coronavirus pandemic. The school district currently has a requirement for high school students to earn 23 credits to graduate. But the board will consider reducing the requirement to 21 credits, the state’s statutory ...

Kansas task force issues guidelines for K-12 remote education plans, stresses learning won't stop with building closures

Kansas students will still keep doing school work — perhaps up to three hours of remote learning per day for older students — under guidelines being unveiled as part of the state's response to the COVID-19 virus. Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson stressed Thursday that Kansas students will continue to receive instruction this spring, after Gov. Laura Kelly ordered all school buildings closed for ...

Douglas County Commission orders most county facilities closed to the public

The Douglas County Commission ordered most of the county’s facilities to be closed to the public during its meeting on Wednesday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said the approved closure of facilities will bar the public from most of the county’s buildings, but county business will continue. Facilities will remain open only to county employees and “critical” ...

Douglas County pares down commission agenda, plans to select construction manager for crisis center

The Douglas County Commission will hold a pared-down meeting Wednesday after deferring several items originally scheduled to be taken up this week. One item that remains, however, is the commission’s consideration of selecting a construction manager at risk for its proposed behavioral health crisis center at the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County, part of which is currently under construction in ...

Bishop Seabury students return home from trip to Greece amid COVID-19 pandemic

A group of about 30 Bishop Seabury Academy students on an international trip returned to Lawrence on Sunday amid travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The group traveled to Greece last week for an educational spring break trip and had originally intended to head back to the United States on Tuesday. But the trip was cut short after President Donald Trump last week announced travel bans to ...

Confused about virus testing? Local health professionals explain how it is working and why you may not qualify for testing

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, individuals may have found it difficult to understand what they are supposed to do if they fear they have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Some have also wondered why they have not been able to get tested for the virus, fearing the disease may be more pervasive than official counts. But health officials told the Journal-World Friday that there is not yet a quick ...

State education commissioner advises Kansas schools to let health departments make decisions on closures

As Kansas’ public universities prepare to shut down their campuses in light of the growing coronavirus pandemic, the state’s K-12 education leader said school districts must look to their local health departments for guidance on possible closures. State Education Commissioner Randy Watson told hundreds of Kansas school leaders during a video conference call on Thursday that their local health departments ...

Lawrence Public Schools to resume classes Monday amid virus cancellations

UPDATED STORY: Douglas County health department prohibits large gatherings, orders 2-week closure of schools, rec centers, libraries Lawrence Superintendent Anthony Lewis said in a Thursday message to parents and guardians that the school district would resume classes Monday. But Lewis recommended keeping students home if they are sick or have chronic health conditions that put them at a high risk of ...

Group of Bishop Seabury students cutting trip to Greece short amid COVID-19 developments

A group of Bishop Seabury Academy students spending their spring break in Greece are cutting their trip short to head back home amid federal travel restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus. About 30 students from Bishop Seabury on Thursday were in Athens as part of an educational spring break trip to the country. They were originally planning to return on Tuesday. But President Donald Trump’s order ...

Douglas County deputy treasurer files to run for treasurer

A county official with six years of experience in the Douglas County Treasurer’s Office has filed to fill its top position. Adam Rains, the current deputy county treasurer, filed Wednesday as a Democrat to run for treasurer, according to the Douglas County elections office. He is the first to file for the county treasurer position. The county treasurer’s office oversees resident motor vehicle registration ...

2020 Census set to begin population count on Thursday

The counting of all U.S. residents is set to begin. Douglas County households will begin receiving notices for residents to participate in the 2020 Census on Thursday. Karrey Britt, a spokeswoman for the county, said the notices will explain how residents can respond to the census either online or by phone. County households should receive their notices by March 20. Various reminders will be sent to households ...

Criminal justice council member says communication on work related to race needs to improve

The Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council needs to do a better job informing its members and the public on the work it is doing to address issues related to race and ethnicity, a member of the council said Tuesday. Shaye Downing, a criminal defense attorney serving on the council, said during the CJCC’s meeting that she felt out of the loop on the council’s law enforcement contact study that ...

Douglas County Commission cancels Wednesday meeting

The Douglas County Commission will not meet on Wednesday as previously scheduled. The County Commission’s meeting this week was canceled because of an unexpected scheduling conflict among the commissioners, Douglas County spokeswoman Karrey Britt said. The commissioners were also scheduled to meet for a work session prior to their regular meeting on Wednesday. Britt said the work session will be ...

Robotics team brings many Lawrence high school students together for one common goal

While high school students in Lawrence can often be caught up in the Lawrence High School and Free State High School rivalry, another team in town overcomes school district lines to compete for a common goal. Team STEAM, a Lawrence student-led robotics team, has been operating for years and consists of Lawrence public, private and home-schooled students. Although Team STEAM is made up of more than 50 students ...

Deerfield Elementary third graders raise nearly $5,000 for Australia wildfire relief

A student-run fundraising event for Australian wildfire relief came up big last weekend. Deerfield Elementary third grade teacher Madeline Herrera said her students’ trivia night event raised about $4,800 for Australian organizations providing recovery efforts — and a few more donations may still be coming in the mail. A big reason the event was so fruitful was because Lawrence resident Ron Wilson matched ...

Douglas County Commission gives initial approval to consolidating rural fire departments into new district

Fire Chief Mike Baxter likes to refer to a proposal to consolidate four rural Douglas County fire departments by another term — unification. That’s because he believes a “consolidation” implies that services will be reduced, he said. But the plan his Wakarusa Township Fire Department and three other rural fire departments — Clinton Township, Eudora Township and Kanwaka Township — proposed to the ...

Douglas County Commission to consider proposal to consolidate township fire departments

Several rural fire departments in Douglas County are proposing a plan to consolidate into a single county fire district to streamline their operations. Mike Baxter, chief of the Wakarusa Township Fire Department, told the Journal-World Tuesday that the Clinton Township, Eudora Township, Kanwaka Township and Wakarusa Township fire departments proposed the plan to the county to make them all more efficient and ...

February health code inspections: 8 found out of compliance in Douglas County

Eight organizations in Douglas County failed health code inspections in February. Each month, I take a look at inspection results and list every place either listed out of compliance or with 10 or more code violations. Full reports are available online at agriculture.ks.gov. There, you can find details about specific violations, which can vary. Noncritical citations include unlabeled products, improperly ...

Work group wants Douglas County criminal justice employees to have training on unconscious racial biases

Employees of Douglas County’s criminal justice system may someday participate in training to better understand unconscious biases about race and ethnicity. However, a work group formed by the county's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council doesn't yet know what that might look like, and officials said they might even have to develop a training program from scratch to meet the county's needs. “This is brand ...