BOE Votes to Remain Online
On Nov. 20, the Board of Education (BOE) voted 5-2 on a motion that keeps middle and high schools students online until the end of the second nine weeks. After a two hour meeting, the BOE decided that because of recent spikes in infection rates in Sedgwick County that it was not safe to send kids back face-to-face.
Currently the infection rate in Sedgwick county is at 21.6% and hospitals are filled. Within the schools themselves, the weekly report through last Thursday, Nov. 5, showed that there were 383 cases in staff and students. This is an increase of 109 cases from the previous week.
Many board members and other speakers at the meeting repeatedly made it clear that in order for schools to be able to go back, there needs to be a strong community response. There is not a specific number that makes it safe for kids to return to school but it will be safer when the community has consistently decreasing numbers.
The BOE does not have the power to stop the numbers from increasing. Many members said they felt like they were the ones trying to hold the public school system together because the federal government and other leaders are not doing anything with the power they have.
Board member Mike Rodee emphasized that the students are the ones missing out on an education. He said multiple times that the students are the district's products and he is scared how this will affect kids in their future in college and trying to get jobs.
Although staying online is not what everyone wants, it is, as one board member said, a “necessary evil” in order to keep kids safe and not add to the increasing numbers in the community. Remote education is not a lack of education, and staying online increases the possibility of returning face-to-face next semester.