School is not over for the year, although it will look very different moving forward, Great Bend USD 428 Superintendent Khris Thexton said.
On the heels of the governor’s announcement that schools will be closed for the remainder of this school year, Thexton announced the district’s Continuous Learning Plan. Families will hear more from building principals and teachers next week and engagement with students will resume on March 30. District officials have not specified the form that distance learning will take, but possibilities discussed at a recent school board meeting included using iPads and Chromebooks, or delivering lesson packets to homes.
The following information is based on a notice that can be found in English and Spanish on the USD 428 website at https://www.greatbendschools.net/community/covid-19 by going to the link “Message to Parents.”
• To prepare for student learning, teachers will report on Monday, March 23 (virtually and in person). They will spend next week developing new and innovative ways to deliver instruction and learning. Building principals gathered Wednesday morning to initiate plans for each building.
While buildings are closed to students, education in Great Bend will be re-imagined and delivered in new ways moving forward. The plan is being developed in coordination with schools across the state.
• Free grab-and-go meal packages will continue to be available at the five elementary school buildings Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. These are available to all children up to 18 years old. Food service also plans to add to “hot meals” onto the menu next week.
• Building administrators are working on a time line for students and families to retrieve personal belongings from buildings. “Please be patient with us on this. In some cases, we will be coordinating pick-up of devices, packets or other resources. More details will be provided soon,” the notice states.
• The Continuous Learning Plan will carry the schools through the next eight weeks to the end of the school year. The district will not extend the school year beyond May 22.
“There are many questions that we simply do not yet have answers for at this time; we ask for your patience. Staff and student safety will remain the top priority in accordance with guidance from the CDC and KDHE.
“As we head into the weekend, we are amazed at what our administrative teams have accomplished in just a few days,” Thexton said in an email sent to parents on Friday. “With the help of building leadership, teachers, and staff, we are developing a framework for meaningful learning to continue in our schools.”
“We understand this situation creates unease and stress for your family and our community,” the notice on the district website states. “Please remember the purpose of this executive order and be diligent about hygiene practices and efforts of social distancing.
“All of us at USD 428 want to be a positive source of encouragement for you, your students, and the community. Together, we will work through the next eight weeks with flexibility and creativity. Please know that more information will be provided as soon as it is available.”