USD 457 planning for 2020-21 school year

Meghan Flynn
Students and parents are greeted with cheers and banner waving by staff members as they enter Florence Wilson Elementary School in 2018 to celebrate the first day of school.

The Garden City Unified School District 457 Board of Education was updated on how the school district is going about planning the 2020-21 school year at the board’s regular monthly meeting Monday.

Heath Hogan, ESC human resources director and deputy superintendent, said now that the 2019-20 school year is over they are moving forward with the planning process for the 2020-21 school year.

Ultimately, the goal is to come go back to normal, to have face-to-face learning within the school buildings, Hogan said.

To do that, they’ve been utilizing the information from the local Finney County Health Department, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the CDC, Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Department of Labor.

The school district has also created committees to look at how to implement things in the coming school year.

Steve Karlin, USD 457 superintendent, said one committee is the “select vision committee,” which will be a group of about 20 people, including community members, teacher, principals, a classified director, somebody from the technology department and a representative from health services.

“Their role is to really guide the work that the other committees are doing,” he said. “They’ll take all of the recommendations that come from the CDC, from the Kansas Department of Labor, from KDHE, from KSDE and use that guidance to help set parameters around how we want school to look and how we want things to happen in Garden City.”

Other groups include an operations committee, instruction committee, personnel issues committee, a facilities committee, etc.

There are also committees for grade levels — for preschool, elementary schools, intermediate schools, middle schools, high school, the alternate school and for Jump Start.

Karlin said the committees will begin working together this week and will continue to meeting at least weekly.

On July 10, KSDE has promised to provide guidance to schools, Karlin said.

“We don't want to get too far down the road, because we might learn something from KSDE, but we don't have a whole lot of time, so we don't want to just hold off until then either,” he said. “I think a lot of work, judging what happened in continuous learning, I think a lot of work will happen between now and then.”

On July 13, at the BOE’s first July meeting, the district will give the board an update on the planning process, Karlin said.

The 2020-21 school year will begin on Aug. 10 with a half day and the first full day will be on Aug. 11.

Karlin said the district’s hope is for schooling to return as normal in August.

“We also have to plan for contingencies if we're not able to do that and what that would look like,” he said.