Kansas Senate passes bill requiring full in-person learning throughout districts

Sophomores+Jackie+Gildo%2C+Annalia+Escalante%2C+and+Deanna+Jones+converse+during+newspaper+stay+late+night.

Photo by Amanda Bauman

Sophomores Jackie Gildo, Annalia Escalante, and Deanna Jones converse during newspaper stay late night.

Zoey Pudenz, Co Editor-In-Chief

On Mar. 3, the Kansas Senate passed Senate Bill no. 235 which would require all K-12 schools to have a full in-person and full remote option by Mar. 26. Up to this point, the district has offered a “half-day” hybrid and remote option for middle and high school students.

“I know there is a broad spectrum of feelings about this shift, but it does indicate progress and hope that there is a light at the end of the very dark tunnel we’ve been in for the past year,” said principal John Nguyen.

According to the Associated Press, Senate President Ty Masterson and other Republicans believe many students are not successfully learning academically or emotionally through online-only learning. 

“I’m happy that we will have an option to bring students back in person, since it’s quite clear that most students are best served by in-person learning,” Nguyen said. “At the same time, I want to be sure we are doing things as safely and responsibly as possible to protect the health of our students, staff, and the community.”

According to the Kansas Reflector, this bill would also go against Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order to give district’s control over COVID-19 action.  

According to science teacher Eric Mabie, he hopes that the Friday schedule will stay the same which allows students and teachers work time after cohort. The change to the Friday schedule might involve a slightly longer day due to state requirements.

“The dedicated time for students to ask questions is critical for some students,” Mabie said. “This is very similar to the way colleges operate with office hours. Also, a singular planning time for teachers to coordinate changes and updates to curriculum for the coming year.”

As of Mar. 9, the district is working out what exactly the plan will look like starting Mar. 26. According to Nguyen, the hope is this will be the last change for the rest of the school year.

“We will try to make any adjustments and additions as smooth as possible to ensure consistency and continuity for our students and their families,” Nguyen said. “This year has been disruptive enough for all of us; we don’t want to add to it.”

According to superintendent Dr. Jessica Dain, this new bill is what the Board of Education has been pushing the Wyandotte County Health Department to accomplish.

This year has been disruptive enough for all of us; we don’t want to add to it”

— John Nguyen

“I think we are close to having the WYCO Health Department in agreement,” Dain said. “At the end of the day, I just want the students in school full time.”

As of Mar. 9, the Bill is waiting to be passed by the House of Representatives. 

“I hope this is an indicator that we could be approaching the end of the worst of this experience,” Nguyen said. “This has been a taxing year for everyone, and I know it’s made a lot of us, myself included, grateful for the way things used to be.”