School announces intention to go back five days a week at semester

Kris Long, Sports Editor

The USD 383 Board announced at its meeting last Wednesday that they plan to bring all On-site students back five days a week beginning in second semester, if COVID-19 metrics in Riley county show it is safe. The decision is not yet final, and the learning model will still be subject to change based on COVID numbers in the second semester.

“We will still need to be monitoring our gating criteria,” Assistant superintendent Eric Reid said. “The percent positive cases, the number of positive cases, as well as staff, and student quarantines, are all going to have to weigh in to whether we can do that or not.”

There is some concern about students coming back to school directly after holiday travel, and administration is encouraging families to be responsible over the holidays.

“I always hope people make good choices with the health and safety of their family and community,” Reid said. “But it’s hard to tell people not to go see grandma.”

Forms to request switching learning models are due by tomorrow, and USD 383 administration will attempt to honor all requests submitted by the deadline. Requests submitted after that will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Students and parents should expect to be back in school five days a week if they chose Onsite learning, and there are no other expected chances to change the learning models into the semester. 

“We would advise…. that if they’re not comfortable with everybody back five days a week, [to] select remote,” Reid said.

Manhattan High will be making changes to second semester schedules, so that there are no more than 25 students in a class to maintain social distancing when possible. They are not yet sure to what extent it will impact student’s second semester schedules, especially as not all students have submitted their requests.  

“I am not going to try to expect anything,” Reid said. “I’m going to wait and see what people say.”

In the meantime, the district is continuing to provide extra support for students and families struggling with the hybrid learning system. They are bringing the students they can back four days a week, and are reaching out to students struggling with mental health. 

“I hope we can [return five days a week], I just don’t know,” Reid said. “That’s two months away, and what the data says in two months and where our community’s at in two months, it ‘s never been the same… it’s always difficult to tell. So I would be hopeful, but I think right now for anybody to plan in any direction too far and count on it with certainty would be a mistake.”