Kansas Governor closes schools for rest of academic year.

Mar 18, 2020 by

Officials promise ‘continuous learning,’ but caution that it can’t replace in-school instruction.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered K-12 schools closed for the rest of the academic year Tuesday as the state continued to escalate its response to the coronavirus – a decision that will lead to massive upheaval for thousands of students and their families.

“The reality of this pandemic is that it cannot be controlled statewide if school buildings return to normal operations or if they respond inconsistently within our local communities,” Kelly said at a late afternoon news conference. “Unprecedented circumstances threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day.”

Kelly and top education officials vowed to continue the task of educating the state’s children, though they acknowledged they’re now in a situation without precedent. A task force of education experts is developing a plan for the months ahead, and will present their recommendations Wednesday, the governor said.

Education Commissioner Randy Watson said the panel was working to produce lesson plans and other guidance for schools “on how we may have some semblance of learning going on in these times.”

“Closing classrooms and moving to this continuous learning plan … can in no way replicate the great learning that goes on in our world-class schools,” Watson said.

In addition to instruction, the task force is working to find solutions related to meals and child care, with an emphasis on the children of emergency workers. Watson said the Kansas State Department of Education has obtained permission to allow districts to continue offering breakfast and lunch to any community that applies for a waiver.

Kelly described the plan as offering strategies to “build a bridge back to the world class learning our students benefit from today.”

Source: Kansas Governor closes schools for rest of academic year. | The Kansas City Star

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