District update: Superintendent recommends online learning

With+the+Board+of+Education+set+to+approve+a+plan+for+middle+and+high+school+to+return+to+in-person+learning%2C+TKC+has+reviewed+how+KSD+has+handled+the+pandemic+since+March.+Of+TKC+staff%2C+88%25+%2857%2F65%29+believe+KSD+has+not+handled+the+pandemic+in+the+best+way+possible+for+the+community.+

Lily Bartin

With the Board of Education set to approve a plan for middle and high school to return to in-person learning, TKC has reviewed how KSD has handled the pandemic since March. Of TKC staff, 88% (57/65) believe KSD has not handled the pandemic in the best way possible for the community.

Update: The school board voted unanimously in favor of KSD Superintendent Dr. David Ulrich’s nine week virtual learning recommendation, Tuesday, July 28th. During the meeting, Ulrich noted that this decision would be reevaluated after around six weeks into the year, as to give families and teachers notice to how they should prepare going forward. Ulrich also mentioned that opportunities to get some students on campus are being explored, and that teachers will be able to access school buildings during the year.

 

During a board meeting Monday, July 27, KSD Superintendent Dr. David Ulrich made the recommendation that the first nine weeks of school should be conducted entirely online. The decision is to be approved by the school board Tuesday, and re-evaluated after the initial nine weeks. Based on Monday’s guideline announcements by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, including 25% capacity for buildings and gatherings limited to no more than 50 people, KSD decided a return to in-person schooling at the beginning of the year would no longer be an option.

All high school students will be provided with a MacBook laptop, grades 3-8 will receive an iPad with a keyboard and K-2 will receive an iPad. Schoology will continue to be used as the district’s learning management system. KSD will provide additional district hotspots with coverage by T-Mobile for distribution to families needing Wi-Fi access. Grab N’ Go meals for families who qualify for free and reduced lunch will continue to be served throughout the school year for either pick up or delivery.

The return to schooling will consist of a block schedule for the entirety of the year, whether online or in person. Schedules will incorporate synchronous learning, where students and teachers will work together online at the same time, as well as assignments outside of the synchronous digital classroom. Teachers will have designated ‘office hours’ for conference or assistance to students.

Sports will make decisions based on guidelines issued by Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) with protocols in place to maximize safety, such as a requirement that only required personnel be allowed at games and events. Activities such as band and orchestra will continue to meet online.

School functions such as special education, REACH/SOAR/gifted programs, IEP accommodations, South Tech, CAPS and more will continue to be provided. Each program will work with adjustments for a virtual learning environment.

Opportunities for individual and small-group learning will be provided. KSD will emphasize building relationships with students, prioritizing social-emotional learning and mental health.

The school board will discuss Superintendent Ulrich’s recommendation as well as reopening guidelines tomorrow, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. School board meetings are open to the community over Zoom. TKC will continue to release more in-depth information as it is released.