TOPEKA, Kan. – With lower case rates of COVID-19 in Shawnee County, Topeka Unified School District 501 will bring all of its students back to in-person learning Monday, the district announced Tuesday afternoon.
Elementary school students will return to the regular, full-time “microclassrooms” they have been in throughout the school year. Secondary students will also return to a modified hybrid schedule in which half of students attend in-person classes in the mornings, switching places with the other half for the afternoon.
Parents may choose to keep their students in remote learning by contacting their child’s school, but parents who had previously chosen all-remote learning when schools were in in-person operations will need to wait until at least the end of the quarter to move their children to in-person learning, if they prefer that option.
The return to in-person learning Monday will be a much quicker return than district officials had anticipated when sending students to remote learning in mid-January, fearing that COVID-19 rates would wreak havoc on the district’s staffing levels. Superintendent Tiffany Anderson had previously cautioned the Topeka Board of Education that it could be after spring break in mid-March before USD 501 students returned to buildings.
Thursday afternoon’s announcement was the second piece of good news for the district, after the Shawnee County Health Department announced in the morning that it would begin vaccinating school staff members starting next week, with the goal of all staff receiving at least their first vaccination before spring break.