Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
As of Aug. 21, 1,550 students are enrolled in pre-kindergarten through ninth-grade for Unified School District 207. Of that number, 1,262 are signed up for on-site and 288 are signed up for remote learning.
Superintendent Keith Mispagel announced the numbers during the monthly board meeting Aug. 24 at the board office. USD 207 schools will begin the 2020-2021 schoolyear Sept. 8.
“We’re looking at an 80/20 (80 percent in-person, 20 percent remote) rate and a decent balance,” Mispagel said. “I’m comfortable with where we’re at for on-site and remote, and we’re addressing staff-wise, what that would look like for both.”
The number of former district families who are home-schooling outside of the district are not currently being tracked.
“I wish I could quantify that,” Mispagel said.
In anticipation of a potential increase in enrollment numbers, Mispagel said he had a video-teleconference meeting with all certified staff as well as met with the principals of each school to speak about capacity in the classrooms.
“One of the most limiting factors that we’ve been wrestling with, challenged with, is the six-foot social distancing in every classroom,” Mispagel said. “We still are in all traditional classrooms right now.”
Right now, Mispagel said about 15 students will be in each classroom, but all certified staff were tasked to determine whether more desks could be added in the event of an increase in on-site enrollment.
In response to the national discussion on who is deemed essential personnel in an education environment, Mispagel confirmed with the board that USD 207 teachers would not be forced to come in if they are sick or in quarantine.
“The No. 1 priority for this district … is the health and well-being of staff and faculty and students,” said Myron Griswold, board president. “Health and well-being, safety and welfare. If you don’t have that then you’re not going to have the quality of education that’s necessary, everyone is going to be on edge.”
“The value of this topic right now, as far as this team is concerned, our operations and the board’s approval of our district plan still has the safety requirements of quarantine in place,” Mispagel said. “Absolutely teachers and our staff are essential personnel. In saying that, forcing them to come in when they’re sick means they’re not essential. It is more essential for them to be better and here than doing something that is not in line with the district plan, the post plan and counterintuitive to the safety.”
Board members and other essential personnel practiced social distancing and wore face coverings during the board meeting and several members of the USD 207 district office and other personnel attended the meeting via videoconferencing.
All board meetings are open to the public. For an overview of the meeting and the minutes, visit https://go.boarddocs.com/ks/usd207/Board.nsf/Public.
The next USD 207 board meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at Patton Junior High School.