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CORONAVIRUS: USD 253 bringing grades 3-5, more secondary-level students back to classrooms next week Featured

CORONAVIRUS: USD 253 bringing grades 3-5, more secondary-level students back to classrooms next week KVOE News Screenshot Image

USD 253 Emporia students will be getting back into buildings on a more frequent basis later this month.

During the USD 253 Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening, the board approved a recommendation from the district COVID-19 advisory board to extend on-site learning at the elementary level to grades 3-5 beginning Tuesday. The recommendation also included moving into step two of the district's secondary education learning model, also beginning Tuesday.

This will mean both Emporia Middle School and Emporia High will have 25 percent of their student populations learning at those schools along with the on-site cohort of students needing specialized support on a daily basis. The students in attendance will be based on alphabetical order.

Mitigation strategies will remain in place including mask usage, social distancing and regular sanitation throughout step two.

Board member Jeremy Dorsey believes this is a "good start" to getting students back to school on a more regular basis.


The concern that has held up a potential move to step three thus far has been concerns in the district's ability to maintain social distancing with a higher number of students in each building. Several board members, including Board President Mike Crouch, stated that if the district is ever going to make the move to phase three the board may have to consider relaxing some of the mitigation strategies currently in place.


The tentative plan has middle school and high school students going into Step 3, or half the student population and the on-site cohort, on Feb. 8.  

The approval of the recommendation comes as the board also approved a memorandum of understanding related to COVID-19 leave for employees. The MOU covers all employee groups and is the district's effort to provide a replacement to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that provided additional employee paid leave due to COVID that expired in December.

You can find a copy of the MOU below. 

In other business Wednesday, board members received a report on student achievement between the fall 2019 and fall 2020 semesters for third through eighth-grade students. According to the report, in all grades, most students saw improvement in both math and reading according to the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests.

However; according to Associate Executive Director of Assessments and Accountability Dr. Ryan Karjala, the growth in 2020 was lower than the fall of 2019. On a positive note, Karjals says the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) had projected a loss of learning nationwide for the 2020-21 school year, however, the loss was much lower than the projections had originally anticipated.


This is only the first part of student achievement reports that will be presented to the board this month. Part two of the report will be delivered during the board's next meeting on Jan. 27. That meeting will take place at the Mary Herbert Education Center and will be viewable on the district's website.




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Last modified on Thursday, 14 January 2021 04:22