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LPS Covid-19 Update from Dr. Tucker (Friday, November 20, 2020)

LPS Community,
The last several months have been a challenge for all of us. We are incredibly grateful to our staff, our students, and our families for the perseverance and resilience you have all shown during this period. As I recently shared, many have doubted that we would have been able to provide in-person learning for these past eleven weeks.  

This week, we have been made aware of several districts in the metro area that have announced adjustments to their learning plans, many of whom plan to transition to a fully virtual learning model in the coming days and/or weeks. At the same time, some districts have attempted to increase in-person learning opportunities, only to have to place those plans on hold due to a rise in Covid-19 cases across the state and region. It is important to note that no two districts are alike in navigating Covid-19. While we collaborate regularly with other districts, they each vary in the cases and quarantines they are seeing and in their ability to ensure appropriate mitigation protocols are in place. While we have also seen an increase in Covid-19 cases and quarantines within our schools, we strongly believe that the mitigation efforts we have put in place have allowed us to provide the in-person learning experiences thus far for our students choosing this option of learning.

We wanted everyone to know that at this time, Liberty Public Schools intends to continue our current learning models when we return from our Thanksgiving break on Monday, November 30, 2020. These models include in-person learning for our PreK-5 students, hybrid learning for our secondary (grades 6-12) students, and our PreK-12 students enrolled in our Liberty Virtual School. As we have continued to emphasize, this remains an extremely fluid situation and one that has the ability to change in the coming days and/or weeks. Please know that we are committed to continue sharing any pertinent information in a timely and effective manner.

As our LPS Covid-19 Data Dashboard reflects, positive cases are primarily coming from outside of our school communities. While our learners are in our schools, our District mitigation measures with respect to distancing, mask-wearing, good hand hygiene, and ventilation enhancements have been important in keeping our staff and students safe and school in session. Our goal all along has been to provide in-person learning, five days a week, if and when it is safe to do so.  It will continue to be our mission to do all we can to make this possible, while also remaining in close contact with the Clay County Public Health Center, the Kansas City Missouri Health Department, and our area hospitals to ensure our plans remain focused on the safety and health of our students and staff.

A common question received in recent weeks is, "When would we make a decision to transition to a fully virtual model for all students?” The primary factors that go into making such a decision include:

  • If the District were to receive a directive from public health officials or a higher governmental authority requiring us to close schools, we would comply.
  • If the District were to determine that due to community spread concerns, it was in the best interest of all members of the LPS community to close and move to virtual learning, we would do so.
  •  If the number of Covid-19 positive cases and the number of quarantined students and staff members reach a level in which it is no longer viable to properly staff our schools and safely facilitate learning in our facilities, we will likely close and move to virtual learning.

In closing, we also understand that January 2021 is just around the corner. Our teams have been working diligently on plans for the start of second semester on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. We will be sharing more information with families in early-mid December that will provide additional details. It is our hope that at this time we would also have a better indication of the trends of Covid-19 within our community.

I would be remiss if I didn't provide each of you with praise and gratitude as we continue on this journey together. There is no doubt that the coming weeks will have its share of challenges for all of us. The way for us all to successfully get through it would be to remain #InThisTogetherLPS.

Be well!

Dr. M. Jeremy Tucker

Superintendent - Liberty Public Schools