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USD 501 continuing in-person despite Shawnee Co. scorecard in red



TOPEKA, Kan. – Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson told board members despite the county’s scorecard being in the red, case numbers in the schools remain low and they want to take advantage of it.

From Dec. 28 through Jan. 1st – out of the more than 13,000 students in USD 501, 19 tested positive for COVID-19. Out of more than 2,300 staff, 21 tested positive.

Dr. Anderson said the opportunity gives students who have been out for six-to-eight weeks the chance to meet with their teacher or principal and receive social or emotional help in-person. That now is the time to prepare students with supplies and support while they monitor the scorecard.

Multiple principals from TPS said having the students back in the halls this week increased excitement and the level of learning.

President of the USD 501 Board of Education Dr. Michael Morrison said, “Things change and we are definitely concerned but we know and we get the discussion from tonight from principals that kids need to be in school.”

They said the classrooms are filled with precautions like wearing masks and sanitizing.

Board members said they have received emails from teachers concerned with being in the classroom, but also said multiple teachers have been encouraged by showing up to the school and seeing kids in person.

LaManda Broyles, Principal at Shaner Early Learning Academy said within the walls of her building, everyone is working together to decrease the chance of a COVID-19 spread.

“The teamwork is there, the camaraderie, the hard work from staff, the security that students have by being somewhere that’s safe and being around people that love them – that brings comfort,” she said. “That’s what I’ve seen in the past four days and it is truly something that brings joy to your heart.

Dr. Anderson said they continue to meet with the Shawnee Co. Health Department every Wednesday.

One board member brought up the idea of creating guidelines of what to do in case they have to move back to remote and hybrid classes in the future.

Dr. Anderson said, “I will tell our parents and our board and our students we want to serve students in person. We may not be able to the entire months of January and February, that may be reality, but we want to try.”