Linn High School moves to partially virtual classroom schedule

Document: Osage County R-2 COVID-19 Letter

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Linn High School switched to a partially virtual schedule Wednesday because of COVID-19 cases among students.

Over the past week, the school has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and students in quarantine, so the district’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee decided to switch to a hybrid model where students attend in-seat instruction twice a week and virtual instruction three times a week, Osage County R-2 Superintendent Dena Smith said.

Linn High School has had six COVID-19 cases among students, which has resulted in about 50 students being quarantined, Smith said. The school has an enrollment of about 250 students.

Until at least Oct. 16, students in grades 9-10 will attend school in person on Wednesdays and Fridays, and students in grades 11-12 will attend school in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Students are expected to attend virtual classes on the days they are not attending in person, which will be taught by their teachers through Google Classroom.

The district’s original reopening plan would have used last names to determine who would attend on which days for a hybrid model, but the district changed it to grade level in this instance.

All after-school activities, athletics and events in the district have been canceled until Friday.

“We will re-evaluate this at the end of the week with the hope of being able to reinstate junior high athletics and events next week,” Smith wrote in a letter to families. “It is possible that high school athletics and events will not be reinstated until after October 16.”

The district’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee will make the decision on whether to return to in-seat instruction, continue the hybrid model or switch to fully virtual classes, Smith said.

The committee consists of district administrators, school nurses and three school board members.

It will re-evaluate next week to determine if the school can return to full in-seat instruction by Oct. 20, Smith said.

The committee may extend the hybrid schedule if there continues to be a rise in cases and students quarantined.

A full virtual model would be a last resort, Smith said.

“If we can keep kids in school at all, that’s our plan,” she said.

While Smith remains in contact with the Osage County Health Department and informs the committee about its recommendations, the Health Department did not play a role in the decision to switch to a hybrid model, she said.

“We’ve been repeatedly told that that, essentially, is a local school district decision,” Smith said.

Families who plan to pick up meals for their children in grades 9-12 on days they are learning virtually from Oct. 7-16 should complete the form at forms.gle/Ku87EheGSGGuwRGL9. Meals will be available to be picked up in the administration office beginning at 11 a.m.

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