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2/25/21 Update

A message from Superintendent Brett White:

Dear Andover Families,

I wanted to update you on recent Covid-19 developments for our district and share our plans moving forward. We are so pleased to share the positive news with all of you.

Data trends: One of our guiding principles since last summer has been doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Every staff member has been instrumental in this process, and the cooperation of students and families has also been very important. Our positive case numbers in the district, as well as our counties, continue to trend in the right direction. You can see our weekly reporting of student and staff Covid data on our website by clicking here

Staff vaccination update: Our district is incredibly grateful for the opportunities that our staff members have to receive Covid vaccinations. Tomorrow, Andover Drug will partner with our district to provide first doses to about 175 staff members, which is extraordinary. Kansas Medical Center, the City of Andover, and the Butler County Health Department have also been great partners in the vaccination efforts over the past several weeks. Getting staff members vaccinated is truly a game changer for us. More than 650 staff members in the Andover School District dedicate their lives to impacting our students each day. We value their health and safety. Having so many of our staff members vaccinated is such an important step forward for us.

Updated close contact information: As you may know, about half of our students reside in Sedgwick County and about half reside in Butler County. That has created some challenges this year as we have navigated the pandemic, sometimes with two sets of rules. 

We are appreciative of the Sedgwick County Health Department for recently implementing new guidelines for how Covid close contacts are handled in schools. These new guidelines create two categories of close contacts: high-risk and low-risk. The new guidelines only apply to students (not adults) who are low-risk close contacts. 

The biggest difference is that students who are deemed “low-risk” exposures may continue to attend in-person school. Those low-risk exposures occur in a classroom setting when both the close contact student who is within six feet for more than ten minutes and the student who tests positive for Covid are properly wearing masks. The new Sedgwick County guidelines also apply when students are on a bus wearing masks and maintaining a minimum of 3 feet distance. These new Sedgwick County guidelines largely mirror what Butler County already had in place. 

For both counties, high-risk contacts must practice isolation, as has been the case throughout this school year. We have seen very few students become ill this year after being deemed a close contact at school. These new guidelines will allow our students to continue to learn in person with minimal risk to them or those around them. We hope this will add to continuity in learning for our students and provide minimal disruptions in the classroom.

Special BOE meeting: At our Board of Education meeting on February 8, the Board approved the recommendation to bring our 6th graders and 9th graders onsite every day, starting on February 15. At that meeting, we shared that the district would evaluate progress every two weeks. This Friday is that two-week benchmark. 

The areas we told the Board that we would assess prior to making further recommendations included Covid data, quarantine information, progress with staff vaccinations, and whether appropriate staffing levels could be maintained with the return of more students onsite. The positive developments in these areas are exciting, and have been the basis for the recommendations we will be sharing with our Board of Education during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1. The Board will hear an update from principals and teachers, and will then discuss and take action on recommendations for learning models for the remainder of the school year. The meeting will be held via Zoom and will be livestreamed at www.usd385.org/boe.

At Monday’s meeting, District administration will be recommending:

  • A return to in-person learning for grades 7, 8 and 10 beginning Monday, March 8.
  • A return to in-person learning for grades 11 and 12 on Monday, March 22. 

This recommendation is based on the following reasons: 

  • Positive Covid cases, both in the community and in our schools, have consistently declined since mid-January.
  • A significant portion of our educators and staff have received at least their first dose of Covid vaccine; some have received both doses. This helps to alleviate concerns with some staff members about their safety.
  • New isolation guidelines (referenced above) allow for more students to participate in in-person school when we do have a positive case.
  • A phase-in of students will continue to allow administrators to determine best practices for social distancing and other Covid protocols.
  • A phase-in also will allow administrators to address the social/emotional needs of students who haven’t been in a classroom full of students in nearly a year.

As we move forward, it is important to remember that learning models for middle and high school students may be impacted by significant changes in Covid data and staffing/operational challenges. We will continue to monitor our school and community data, and work with local health officials, to maintain the safest possible conditions in our schools.
 
We are looking forward to having all of our students back in our schools every day! As always, thank you for your support as we navigate this school year and these unprecedented times.

Brett White
Superintendent


2/16/21 Update

The Andover Covid Response and Assessment Team met this evening and determined the district remains in the “green” zone of its Gating Criteria. As a reminder, this group determines color zone, while any potential learning model changes would be made by the Board of Education.


2/8/21 Update

The Andover Board of Education met this evening and approved two changes in our learning models at the secondary level. These do not affect elementary school students. These changes are based on steadily improving community health data in Butler and Sedgwick County and the COVID Responsive and Advisory Team’s color zone change from orange to yellow at its meeting Jan. 26. Our improving COVID data, paired with the vaccine rollout for staff members, has put us in a position to discuss how best to provide more onsite learning for our middle and high school students.

The approved changes are:

  1. At the middle and high school levels, Wednesdays will now be hybrid learning days (they have been remote learning days for all students up until now). A calendar of A/B days will be distributed by your child’s school. (The only exception will be Wednesday, Feb. 24 for high school freshmen, sophomores and seniors, who will learn remotely that day. The ACT is administered to juniors that day, and due to testing protocols and staffing needs for the test environment, only juniors will be onsite that day.)
  1. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, all students in grades 6 and 9 will return to in-person learning. Students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 will continue in a hybrid learning model. We know that this year has been especially hard for students who have transitioned to a new school building at the beginning of the year. This is also a logical step in what could be a phased-in approach to having all students return to in-person learning as conditions warrant. Any decisions on changes to learning models for students in 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 will continue to be made in two-week time increments based on COVID case data, isolation data, vaccine progress and staffing/operational considerations.

We believe that these recommendations show both progress and prudence. Some will think this is too much, too quickly. Others will think this is not enough and that all students should return to school. We believe that an incremental, measured approach with re-evaluation every couple of weeks is the best approach. 


1/26/21 Update

Dear Andover Families,

The Andover COVID Response and Assessment Team met this evening and determined the district is now in the “yellow” zone in its Gating Criteria. As a reminder, this team determines color zone only; any potential changes to learning models would be made by the Board of Education.

We also want to provide two additional reminders:

Free meals: We want to remind you that all school meals are free through the end of the 2020-21 school year through a program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This includes both meals served in cafeterias and meals available to any student learning remotely, which are available on weekdays from noon-1 p.m. at Andover Central High School, Door L.

Calendar changes: We want to remind you that the Andover Board of Education approved a revised 2020-21 calendar at its January meeting. The approved calendar has two additional professional learning days. School will not be in session Friday, Feb. 12, or Monday, April 19.

Andover Public Schools
 


1/12/21 Update

The Andover COVID Response and Assessment Team met today (Jan. 12) and determined the district remains in the “orange” zone in the Andover Gating Criteria. Our students will remain in their current learning models for the period of Jan. 18-29.
 
The COVID team will meet the following dates during the spring semester:

  • Jan 26:  Determine zone for Feb. 1-19  
  • Feb 16:  Determine zone for Feb. 22-March 5
  • March 2:  Determine zone for March 8-26 
  • March 23:  Determine zone for March 29-April 9
  • April 6:  Determine zone for April 12-23 
  • April 20:  Determine zone for April 26-May 7   
  • May 4:  Determine zone for May 10-28 

Meetings are at 5:30 p.m. and are livestreamed on our Roadmap to Reopening page at usd385.org/roadmap.


11/20/20 Update: Thank you to everyone who completed our recent stakeholder surveys. Below are results of the surveys by stakeholder group and building level.

Parents
Elementary school
Middle school
High school

Certified staff
Elementary school
Middle school
High school

Students
Middle school
High school

11/3/20 Update: Students at Andover Middle School and Andover Central Middle School will return to hybrid learning on Monday, Nov. 9. Click here for more information.

The Andover Board of Education has approved our district’s Roadmap to Reopening, our plan for the 2020-21 school year. We believe this plan:

  • Allows our schools to open as safely as possible.
  • Provides a structure for monitoring health conditions that could lead to changes in learning models during the school year.
  • Gives families choice if they prefer virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year.

We will post more information as it becomes available. Please email info@usd385.org if you have a specific question you would like answered.

Family Playbook Now Available

Click here to view our Family Playbook for the 2020-21 year. This document will be updated throughout the year to reflect the most updated information available to help keep our school community safe. This document includes many details about the school year.

Elementary In-Person Learning Model

We currently are offering in-person learning for elementary students.

  • Safety measures will be in place, including masks, enhanced cleaning and social distancing when possible.
  • Students will remain in a cohort group as much as possible.
  • If mandated by the health department or government entity, or through action by the Andover Board of Education, pivoting to hybrid or remote learning may be required if conditions warrant.

High School and Middle School Hybrid Learning Model

High school and middle school students currently are learning in a hybrid model. Students attend in-person instruction two days a week and work remotely three days a week.

When in person, safety measures will be in place, including masks, enhanced cleaning and social distancing when possible.

COVID Response and Assessment Team

We have assembled a COVID Response and Assessment Team to help us make decisions throughout the year about the most appropriate models of care given current community health data.

This is a group of health care professionals, business and community leaders, parents, Board of Education members and district staff who will convene every two weeks to analyze health data. This group will recommend to our Board of Education whether to remain in our current models of learning or to move to either less restrictive or more restrictive models.

The Assessment Team’s first meeting will be September 22, when they will make a recommendation to the Board of Education about whether a shift to an in-person learning model for all students should be made for the weeks of September 28-October 9. This evaluation process will continue throughout the school year.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment also is developing guidelines that will help schools make these decisions.

Andover eCademy

The deadline to complete the Intent to Register form for Andover eCademy has now passed. eCademy can no longer accept additional student transfers. Please email info@usd385.org if you have additional questions.

Registration

Registration for the 2020-21 school year opens around noon on Monday, Aug. 3. Parents/guardians will receive an email with instructions for how to complete registration. If you are unsure about which learning model you will choose, we would encourage you to wait to complete registration until that decision is made. Registration will close at the end of the day on Friday, Aug. 14. This change will allow us to allocate additional staffing to eCademy if enrollment warrants.

New calendar

The Board of Education approved a revised district calendar that reflects the new start date of Sept. 8. The majority of professional learning days will be before the start of school so educators can better collaborate and prepare for the various scenarios they may face during the school year. We were able to complete this calendar while leaving holidays and breaks (including winter break and spring break) untouched, and still dismissing the school year before Memorial Day.

Safety measures

In addition to the safety measures mentioned above (wearing of masks, enhanced cleaning and social distancing when possible), many other safety measures will be taken throughout the district. Those include, but are not limited to:

  • Educating students about proper mask wearing and hand sanitizing.
  • Limiting shared materials in the classroom.
  • Ensuring only approved cleaning supplies are used in buildings, and ensuring there are extra cleaning supplies in classrooms.
  • Encouraging students not to use lockers at the secondary level to minimize congregating in hallways.
  • Eliminating large gatherings of students such as assemblies.
  • Encourage directional traffic in hallways to maximize social distancing.
  • Eliminating the use of cloth furniture that cannot be easily cleaned.
  • Maximizing space and scheduling to allow for social distancing during breakfasts and lunches.
  • Using barcode scanners to pay for lunch to eliminate the need for keypads.
  • Family units sitting together on the bus. Also, students will load from the back to the front of the bus, and unload from the front to the back to minimize potential exposure.
  • Hiring additional custodians to ensure cleaning of buildings.

Equity for all students
Our special education, English language learners, and students who meet at-risk criteria may require more onsite instructional time when schools are operating in a hybrid learning environment. The Board of Education approved the flexibility to meet individual learning needs through additional onsite instruction. Please speak with your child’s school for more information.

Gating Criteria Data

The COVID Response and Assessment Team uses data from the previous two weeks, in conjunction with Gating Criteria, to make recommendations to the Board of Education. Data is a snapshot as of the reporting date. Because state and county sources often revise data from previous weeks, data points may no longer match what is on other websites.

Feb. 16, 2021
Jan. 26, 2021
Jan. 12, 2021
Nov. 30, 2020
Nov. 3, 2020 (revised)
Oct. 19, 2020
Oct. 5, 2020

COVID Response Form

We want to know your feedback about how the district is doing in its response to the COVID pandemic and its Roadmap to Reopening. Please complete the form below to provide your input.

COVID feedback form