LSR7 Update 8/4/2020

Hello Leaders!

As promised, we will continue to rely on guidance and research as we make recommendations around serving our mission and doing so safely.

Today, we met with the Eastern Jackson County Health Department. As of data today, and if school were starting today, they are recommending districts in the county to be virtual PreK-12, sans a few special cases for IEP/ELL students. They are very interested in the PreK-3 in person, and will come back to that again next week. My recommendation is to follow their guidance at the time of their guidance.

You can see on BoardDocs the recommendations. We will update as we learn more.

The health department also stated that we would be allowed to offer child care for essential workers (school personnel, nurses, doctors, fire, police) on site if in small numbers and cohorted (their term). We will continue to explore our ability to do so and are happy to know that is an option. Please stay tuned.

The health department officials are now committed to a Tuesday weekly meeting. We will continue to engage them and seek guidance. If you have a moment, please drop them a letter of gratitude. They are doing an incredible job, and I appreciate them.

We will continue to keep everyone's (staff, student, community) safety in mind as we look for the best way to serve our mission to prepare each student for success in life based on the current guidance and research.

I also met with Mayor Lucas today. As a region, both the county and the KC Mayor's office are trying to find CARES funding from the government level make it's way to help out schools. As of today, that has not happened in this county. It has in neighboring counties.

On a final note, I wanted to point out an example of the CARES funding issue. Rockhurst HS, from what I can see, received $2.5 million in CARES funding. That is double ours. Rockhurst has 800 kids. We have 18,000. As you can see, public education is a target for some in our society. We as a nation benefit so greatly by a free public education. It is an equity issue. It is a basic needs issue. Please keep this in mind as you bump into others or create a footprint on social media. We need to build trust in public education, and not fuel the dissent that others want to create. That doesn't mean we don't express ourselves or always agree. It does mean that we benefit when done in a professional manner. For example, I have known Commissioner Vandeven for a very long time. Her house was 1 mile from one of the elementary buildings my 3 daughters once attended. Her husband used to work at a bank that was 1 building over from my office. She is a good person. If I were to disagree with a decision or direction she was making, I might or might not visit with her about it. I would not go onto Facebook and tear her down. Instead, I would build her up to any and all that would hear me. What happened to her a few years ago shows how some can use politics to undermine public education. My job as an educator and a friend isn't to agree with Margie 100% of the time. As a person interested in the greater good of public education, it is to build trust in her and her position (and thus, public education) to counter those who have ill will against public education. My point is to please extend grace and understanding to our county health department, our county officials, our school board, and your building/department leaders as they move through an unpredictable and heavy topic of how to proceed during this pandemic. Build them up to those you bump into physically and virtually. Our field of public education will benefit from that.

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