- Maize Unified School District 266
Middle/high students to move to in-school learning four or five days a week in February
The Maize Board of Education has approved a change that will bring students in grades 6 through 12 physically back into the classroom at least four days a week starting later in the month of February. The full-time remote learning model will continue to be offered for students and families who have elected it.
More specifically, the board-approved change for middle and high school will:
- Transition middle school students in grades 6 through 8 to physically attend school in-person at least four days a week (and possibly five days a week) beginning no later than Monday, Feb. 22.
- Transition high school students in grades 9 through 12 to physically attend school in-person at least four days a week (and possibly five days a week) beginning no later than Thursday, Feb. 25.
There will be no change to the current schedule for preschool and elementary school students.
School board members voted 4-3 for this change during their Jan. 25 Maize Board of Education special meeting. This move is an effort to provide additional educational opportunities and support for students while balancing safety-related concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A recording of the special board meeting is available for anyone interested to watch on the district YouTube channel at bit.ly/Maize266YouTube.
Options for secondary students in grades 6 through 12 are:
- to continue in the in-person learning model, with the number of in-person school days increasing from two days a week to four or five days a week on Feb. 22 for middle school and Feb. 25 for high school.
- or to continue in or transition to the full-time remote learning model. Full-time remote learning opportunities may vary, depending on the student’s grade, school, and course schedule. Families and students can work with their school once they select their learning model. Students currently in a full-time remote learning model will remain in that model until families request a return to in-person learning. For secondary students who transition to full-time remote learning, they will be enrolled in Remote Flex, in which students work more independently, yet still have daily connection with assigned teachers. They do not meet at a set time with instructors or other students online and can set their own daily/weekly schedule.
Additional items to consider:
- The district will not allow current full-time remote students to return to in-person learning mid-term. Families seeking a switch to in-person learning should make that decision now. The next opportunity to return to in-person learning will be at the start of the fourth term on March 29.
- In the coming days and/or weeks, educators and district leaders will develop a plan for in-person learning and communicate details with employees, parents, and students.
- Regarding capacity, parents and students should keep in mind that the transition to have middle and high school students in school four or five days a week starting in February will increase the number of students in most or all middle and high school classrooms. This results in a challenge to keep students 6 feet apart in the classroom. Students and parents uncomfortable with this may want to consider transitioning to full-time remote learning.
- With more students attending middle and high school on a daily basis, also please keep in mind that school buses will be more crowded. This is unavoidable. Parents uncomfortable with this may want to consider providing rides for their children.
- Discontinue daily student temperature screening checks: Board members voted unanimously to discontinue temperature screenings that the district has required upon students’ arrival to school each day. While a valuable preventative measure thus far during the 2020-21 school year, the procedure found very few cases in which students with high temperatures had reported to school. It required employee resources to manage and created somewhat of a bottleneck for some schools.
- Spectators at athletic events: Board members voted 5-2 to accept the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSSA) modified guidelines to permit up to four spectators per student participant at an athletic event where space allows for social distancing. Middle and high school athletic directors will begin the work to update procedures to reflect this change. Please understand that limited seating in our auxiliary gyms may limit the number of spectators allowed per student participant.
- Spring semester parent-teacher conference: Wednesday, Feb. 17 will be parent-teacher conferences. The 2020-21 district calendar indicated this date as an option depending on the learning model at that time. The Wednesday date will allow greater flexibility and less interruption to in-class learning. Conferences will take place during the school day in a virtual environment. Schools will communicate additional details with parents in the near future.
We recognize that these changes affect educators and families differently while balancing many needs and priorities right now, including supporting students educationally, socially, and emotionally while looking out for their health and wellness. There is no one simple, easy solution that will best meet each person’s needs. We are eager to have the opportunity to welcome secondary students back to school more frequently and are also pleased to be able to continue to offer options for students and families who feel most comfortable in the remote setting.
The district will be in touch as it continues to work through this challenging year. Thank you for your faith that those involved in decisions have the wellbeing of our students, employees, and families in mind.
Dr. Chad Higgins
Superintendent of Schools
Maize USD 266