Lawrence school board to hear task force’s report on reopening schools
photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo
The Lawrence school board will soon hear an initial report from a task force that is exploring issues related to reopening schools this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the board will receive an update from district leaders on the work that the task force, called “Together Again: Fall 2020 Planning Task Force,” has conducted since it began operating in early June.
The board will also receive results of a survey that the task force conducted. According to the school district website, the task force planned to ask families about their needs, preferences and concerns related to the upcoming school year.
In March, the state closed school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year in response to the virus, and the school year was completed through remote learning.
The task force consists of more than 200 district and school administrators, curriculum and instructional coaches, and teachers representing various grade levels, subject areas and specialties, according to the district’s website. They are examining many aspects of reopening, which could lead to new learning environments for the upcoming school year.
“When the 2020-2021 school year begins, schools may look different than in previous years due to new health and safety measures,” the school district said on the website. “Staff and school families may see adjusted schedules, smaller learning environments, continued e-learning opportunities, and other changes intended to meet public health recommendations.”
However, the school district notes that the Kansas State Department of Education is expected to provide new guidance next week regarding reopening schools, and all of the district’s plans are subject to change.
More information about the task force and its work can be found on the district website, usd497.org/TogetherAgain.
In other business, the board will also consider the reorganization of its leadership. The first meeting in July is typically when the board considers reorganization, which includes electing a new board president and vice president.
According to the agenda, the board intends to consider electing Kelly Jones as president and Erica Hill as vice president. Currently, Jones is the board’s vice president, and Melissa Johnson is the outgoing board president.
The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday through an online conference call. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district encourages the public to watch the meeting on Midco channel 26 or online at youtube.com/USD497.
Those who want to speak during public comments at the meeting can still do so. The school district asks for comments to be sent by email to PatronCommentary@usd497.org by 6 p.m. the day of the meeting. Comments can also be emailed to board members ahead of the meeting. Their contact information is available on the district’s website at usd497.org/Board.