Ottawa school opening plan includes in person, remote learning

Greg Mast
The USD 290 School Board approved a plan for students to attend school in person or remotely/virtually. All plans are still being formulated, school officials said. [HERALD FILE PHOTO].

The Ottawa school district has plans in place to open schools in the fall with options for student learning.

The USD 290 School Board Monday approved a plan that includes the option to attend both in person or remotely/virtually.

“There are still many items to be answered and we will do our best to inform [district patrons] over the course of the next few weeks prior to the first day of school of all the particulars of that reopening,” Ottawa Superintendent Dr. Ryan Cobbs, said.

Cobbs will email district patrons each Monday describing the plans in place as they are developed.

“As of now, your student will be able to attend either in person, or if you choose to, attend remotely,” Cobbs said. “The remote environment K-5 is still being developed, but will not look like the Continual Learning Plan that existed at the end of last year. Your child will have a device provided to them and specific times during the day in which they will be interacting with their teacher and other remote learning students. It will be paramount that they be available to get online during the school day as this will not be a ‘packet’ instruction environment.”

School is set to begin Aug. 13 with a half day and the first full day on Aug.14. Schools were closed in mid-March because of COVID-19 concerns.

Cobbs said the learning program for those students who choose to not attend in person in grades 6-12 is still being discussed.

“We do have a virtual option that has a researched-based curriculum provided in a digital platform approved by the NCAA and the Kansas State Department of Education,” Cobbs said. “Students in our virtual school have access to our teachers and will have guidance with their learning. We are still looking to see how a remote environment may work at Ottawa High School and Ottawa Middle School as well as providing another layer of options to our families.”

Open enrollment starts Monday. Cobbs said parents and guardians at that time will be asked if your student will be attending in person or remotely.

“We are still working through decisions on what pick up and drop off will look like, lunch, transportation and passing periods,” Cobbs said. “We will develop those plans more specifically. It is important to remember that all of this is very fluid and we will have to shift and adjust as mandates and expectations change from our board, county or state.”