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Monday, March 1, 2021

Letter From Marysville USD 364 Superintendent Mike Couch – 10/16/2020

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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.

Well, I am not sure if many parents were able to get any “back to school” pictures this morning as we had our First Day of School following a week of remote instruction at MJSHS. Some parents have asked why we were able to return to school so quickly. The fact is, there were simply not many students or teachers who have been positive with Covid-19. What a blessing! Today was a very successful day of ‘in-person” learning at MJSHS for students and teachers. Thanks goes out to all the kids and teachers at MES for their steady and consistent efforts at being their best every day too.

Although we have had three great months of in-person learning with only a few positive cases at school, there are three factors that lead me to believe that cases could rise over the next month: 1. rising cases in the county; 2. holiday travel and gatherings; and 3. flu season/winter’s setting-in on homes and families. We will make adjustments as necessary.

The county health department has done a very good job tracing Covid-19 cases in the county. (What a tough and unpopular job. Hats off to them). Essential quarantines from such contact tracing, however, are our biggest challenge as a district right now. Many students and some teachers have been placed on quarantines since Covid-19 has found its way into workplaces within the county. Thus, when parents and spouses test positive, whole households are quarantined.

Some of the factors that will be considered when going to or returning from “remote” instruction:

  • Can classrooms be covered appropriately?
  • Student positives
  • Student spread
  • Teacher positives
  • County spread
  • County health department and health doctor input.

Student Activities and Sports:
League superintendents and athletic directors will meet tomorrow at 10:00 AM to establish some consistent guidelines on how to address winter sports. I have heard from a few parents wishing that sports would not continue and other parents hoping their kids get the opportunities their kids have been looking forward to. Our school district has been spared of any real spread from activities or sports, however, there were cases of spread from school to school in other districts across the state. As said before, not many from the governor down want to make hard calls on sports. I do believe that a league stance would serve our communities best. However, I do know that there will be no “one” decision that will make everyone pleased.

USD 364 parents, I want to close by thanking each of you for keeping the emotion out of responses or using emotions to stir others to a cause. We will continue to work hard to make decisions that keep your confidence, even though we know not all of our parents will be in full agreement with each of them. I am always open to conversations if time allows too. Our teachers have many varying thoughts on the best move forward too. Seeing both of these groups work hard to be understanding is appreciated. Thanks to all.

Mike Couch
USD 364 Marysville Schools, Superintendent

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