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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Update From Beloit USD 273 Superintendent Jeff Travis

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

Dear USD 273 – Beloit Families,

I’ve seen many tough situations in my 28 year career in education. The COVID-19 pandemic situation is one that I could have not predicted. These situations are unprecedented. Nevertheless, we persevere because we know our schools and learning are essential in the lives of our children.

As educators and parents, we all want our children to return to school. More importantly, our students, parents, and teachers are craving a return to normal. At the same time, we face a current reality that requires us to prioritize health and safety.

As a parent and a life-long educator, I share all of your concerns. I think of all the students who have unique needs and the services, programs and activities that are important to them at school. I think of our parents who are balancing work schedules and child care. I often think of our teachers who balance commitments to our students while also supporting their own families. I think of the health concerns of many who also want to be in school to work and learn. In the Beloit Schools, we must weigh the unique needs of 850 students and 200 plus staff members and provide support, options and flexibility to care for everyone.

After an immense amount of study and planning by our excellent team of educators and health professionals, Beloit will offer two options for teaching and learning this school year which are outlined below.

Option 1 contains our In-Person Learning (Plans A, B, and C) with learning at school. It will also include a Plan D for a period where the in-person learning may be temporarily stopped due to a spread with the virus. This plan will contain packet and virtual learning covering our district approved and state approved competencies. Plan A is a five day a week plan with extra cleaning every day. Plan B will be a four day a week schedule, where all students will come to school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This will allow for a “super cleaning day on Wednesday.” All students will still have classes with competency based learning through packet learning or virtual teaching through Zoom or Google Meet. Plan C will allow for ½ of the students to go on Monday and Tuesday, super cleaning on Wednesday, and ½ the students to go on Thursday and Friday. It is the belief of USD 273 – Beloit that face to face learning is still the most appropriate way to teach and learn; especially with keeping our District goals of Building Positive Relationships and Relevant Learning. Please understand in Plans B and C that In Home Learning for Competency Based Learning will happen on the days that face to face learning is not happening. If either Plan B or C is implemented by the district, students will receive instruction online at home until the level of community illness improves. At this time, we plan to open school on August 20 using Option 1, Learning Plan A, which is normal school with face to face learning. We will continue to closely monitor the health of our region and must acknowledge that this plan may need to change before school starts given the health of our community and any changes with our state guidelines. We will keep you posted.

All in-person learning will require that a face mask will be worn by all students 4th grade through 12th grade and adults that are in the attendance centers. It is a recommendation for 1st grade through 3rd grade to wear masks, but not a requirement. There of course will be exceptions made for medical reasons. The face masks are considered to be part of the daily attire and will not be supplied by the school. The school will have extra face masks if one is forgotten. Hand washing and hygiene opportunities will be given frequently throughout the day.

Enrollments will start August 3rd and 4th. We encourage you to use the online open enrollment. Please do not hesitate to call the office of your child’s attendance if you have any questions.

Option 2 is a full-time online experience through Acellus. Students who choose this option will attend school 100 percent online during the first semester. School officials will check on students taking this option. Consistent contact will occur with our Directors of this program. If you choose this option for your child, you must stay with this option for a semester at a time. If choosing this option, you will need to notify your school principal by the enrollment dates.

We will continue to provide updates and answer more questions as we learn more facts.

In the coming weeks, please reach out to us or your principal with questions. We thank you for your ongoing support and patience.

Sincerely,

Jeff Travis, Superintendent
USD 273 – Beloit

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