It’s been 207 days since students were last in school and now the Shawnee Mission School District has decided to move kids that picked in-person learning to hybrid. Hybrid learning will begin on Monday, Oct. 26 and will continue as long as the county continues to meet the orange and yellow gating criteria.
With only two and a half weeks until students move into hybrid there are still a lot of questions to be answered about what school will look like.
“I think the most important thing is to know what group they are in, whether they’re a group A or a group B student,” Principle Jeremy Higgins said. “From there I think the most important thing that students need to know is that all of the health and safety protocols that we have in place we’re going to be very strict on.”
Some of those safety protocols include wearing a face mask at all times, maintaining three to six feet of space and practicing proper hand hygiene. All of which students will be expected to follow even outside of the classroom.
“During arrival and dismissal procedures, kids are going to need to know what is expected of them at those times,” Higgins said.
Students will have access to things such as restrooms and water fountains, but not without their fair share of rules and guidelines. Red dots have been placed on the floor near the water fountains, indicating the 6 feet of space.
“Students are going to be able to use the water fountain, they’re going to be allowed to use the restroom but with obviously wearing masks and with maintaining appropriate amounts of space as well,” Higgins said.
Although teachers and the administration are going to do their best to ensure people’s safety, some of the responsibility will fall on the students.
“There’s only five administrators, we can’t supervise every single bathroom and teachers can’t supervise every single water fountain,” Higgins said. “Teenagers are going to have to take it upon themselves to do the right thing as well and make sure that social distancing and the spacing guidelines that we have in place are being adhered to at all times.”
Lunches have had some of the biggest changes. Students will have to eat 6 feet apart and must maintain proper distancing while in the lunch line, but the biggest change is that there will now be four lunches as opposed to three. Lunch tables will also have red dots on the seats indicating where students can sit.
“Lunches are still 25 minutes long as they’ve always been, there will be a five minute passing period to get back to where you’re coming from so we’ll be good to go,” Higgins said.
Although there’s a pretty good idea of what in-person days will look like, days when students are online remain a bit of a mystery, especially since students won’t be able to meet with their teachers during class.
“So in-person students when they are not in the building will unfortunately not receive direct instruction from teachers,” Higgins said. “It will be what’s called asynchronous learning so they may have an assignment or work to do from canvas or the teacher may have assigned them something when they saw them in person and the students just know that they need to be working on that.”
Another question on people’s minds is whether or not families will get to reselect their learning style since the guidelines have changed; however, the district doesn’t have any plans for this at the moment.
“Second semester families will be able to make a selection again, at least we believe we will be able to, but right now there is no change to the learning model selection that was made for first semester,” Higgins said.
For any questions, SM North is planning on sending students and parents a hybrid bell schedule and a reopening plan that will give information on things like arrival and dismissal and will include questions and answers on each topic.
“I think once we get into class it’ll kind of business as usual, obviously with a lot of safety procedures as well,” Higgins said.