March 31, 2020
Due to the inability to obtain voluntary compliance with the request to stay off of school playgrounds (which included the posting of signs), all Shawnee Mission School District playgrounds are being closed and gates to school grounds will be locked. This is being done in an effort to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and is consistent with guidelines from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
March 30, 2020
Waiver Application Presentation
At the special board meeting on March 30, Dr. Michelle Hubbard, associate superintendent for leadership and learning, Dr. Rick Atha, deputy superintendent, and David A. Smith, Chief Communications Officer presented a waiver application for consideration, with support from Dr. Darren Dennis, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, Sherry Dumolien, director of special education, Dr. John McKinney, director of student and family services, and Shelby Rebeck, director of health services.
The Board approved the waiver. Following the board’s approval, the district will submit the waiver application to the Kansas State Department of Education. State approval of the waiver, which is required of all Kansas school districts, provides needed flexibility for issues such as required attendance hours, credits for graduation, and special education. Click here to view the waiver application.
March 26, 2020
During the COVID-19 closure of school buildings, all playgrounds at Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) buildings are closed until further notice. Signs will be installed on Friday, March 27, 2020, reminding patrons that the playgrounds are closed. This is being done in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus (playground surfaces that children touch have a significant potential to harbor and spread the coronavirus). It is critical that these guidelines be adhered to, not only for the safety of the children involved, but to slow the spread of the coronavirus across the community, in order to “flatten the curve.”
Stadiums and athletic facilities in SMSD remain open, as long as everyone adheres to the following guidelines:
- Personal distancing guidelines must be strictly adhered to (six feet of distance from any individual not in the same household)
- No groups of more than 10 people
- No team sports, including but not limited to:
The district will regularly monitor facilities to ensure compliance, and may revise these guidelines if necessary, in order to protect public health. Your cooperation is appreciated.
March 24, 2020
"Pickup and Go Meals Begin"
Beginning March 24, 2020, free breakfast and lunch will be provided to all children ages 1 to 18 at four school sites in the Shawnee Mission School District. Students with an IEP enrolled in the SM South Post High Program are also eligible to receive meals. Students must be present to receive breakfast and lunch.
- Comanche Elementary, 8200 Grant St., Overland Park
- Rosehill Elementary, 9801 Rosehill, Lenexa
- Shawanoe Elementary, 11230 W. 75th St., Shawnee
- Hocker Grove Middle School, 10400 Johnson Dr., Shawnee
Dates: Beginning March 24, 2020
Time: 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. on Monday through Friday.
Contact the Food Services Department with any questions at 913-993-9710 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more information.
March 17, 2020
JOCO superintendents support the Governor’s order to close schools through the end of the school year.
In order to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Kansas, on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered all public schools in Kansas to remain closed through the end of the school year.
“The steps we're announcing today will create the space we need at the state level, to develop a more strategic resilient infrastructure, so that we can get ahead of this threat and limit its long-term impact,” Governor Kelly noted.
Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education, joined the Governor for the announcement, and noted that top educators from around the state are already working on how to provide educational resources for students, and schools districts are planning for how to ensure that students can continue to receive breakfast and lunch while schools are closed.
“We have entered into a new reality,” said Dr. Mike Fulton, superintendent of schools, “and it requires all of us working together in support of our community.”
“Moving forward, we will provide our community with regular updates on our plans as they develop,” Dr. Fulton noted. “I would ask that we allow each other a measure of grace, as we develop plans for what school looks like in the weeks ahead. We are a uniquely gifted community, and we must use our many talents and strengths to support one another.”
“Now, more than ever,” he said, “we must work together for the benefit of our children and our community.”
You can view the Governor’s press conference online or read a press release issued by the Governor’s office.
March 16, 2020
SMSD Schools Closed Through April 3, 2020
At the direction of the Johnson County Department of Health and the Environment, all schools in the Shawnee Mission School District will be closed through April 3. Schools are being closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The district is engaged in planning on how to manage this closure, including contingencies for how to respond if the closure extends beyond April 3. In the meantime, we are currently working on meal distribution for children in need and will share that in a future communication. Staff will continue to be paid and will receive expectations for work after the conclusion of spring break.
There is much we do not know, but we will be working tirelessly over the next few days to prepare for the possibility of an extended closure and will continue to communicate regularly as plans develop. We recognize the challenges that this closure presents for families and students but are in agreement with JCDHE that this closure is in the best interest of students in our district. Meanwhile, please follow all advice from public health advocates in order to keep yourself and your family safe. This includes taking the idea of social distancing seriously and keeping yourself and your children away from group gatherings.
There will be a press conference at 11 a.m. tomorrow where additional information will be shared.
March 15, 2020
Johnson County superintendents release joint statement following KSDE recommendation
The Kansas State Department of Education issued the following statement on Sunday, March 15:
As of Sunday, March 15, Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson strongly recommends that those schools currently coming off of spring break, suspend operations for the week March 16-20. All schools scheduled for spring break the week of March 16-20 will continue as planned.
Closing all schools during this same period of time provides Kansas officials the time needed to finalize a comprehensive plan for how to address COVID-19.
It is critical that we all follow a coordinated response to this situation.
This announcement does not directly impact districts in Johnson County, as all districts are on Spring Break from March 16-20, 2020; however, we commend Commissioner Watson on making this important recommendation.
As we are all well aware, proactive measures to combat COVID-19 are important to community health and safety. All Johnson County school districts will continue to work closely with Johnson County government, including the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, to take proactive steps to address student, staff and community safety. Families should continue to proactively make plans for the very real possibility of a school closure beyond Spring Break.
As this remains a fluid and evolving situation, we will keep families updated as more information becomes available from Johnson County officials and the Kansas State Department of Education.
March 14, 2020
A parent of a student at Lenexa Hills Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. The family is currently in self-quarantine, and will not be back in the building until that quarantine period has expired.
The district is working directly with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE). We are severely limited in terms of what we can say, in order to protect the privacy rights of the individuals involved. Anyone in the Lenexa Hills community who has had extended direct contact with anyone in that family has been informed, per JCDHE guidelines. We have been informed that the risk of COVID-19 exposure to anyone at Lenexa Hills is very low.
All buildings in the Shawnee Mission School District are closed for Spring Break, and will be deep cleaned and disinfected before students and staff return. Please be assured that our focus is on student, staff and community safety. This situation continues to be very fluid and, as things change, we will communicate as quickly as reasonably possible. Our communications are designed to both inform and dispel rumors. Please rely on official communications only for factual updates and guidance.
March 13, 2020
All Shawnee Mission School District facilities will be closed during Spring Break (March 16-20), with no keycard access. During this time, the buildings will undergo deep cleaning and disinfection. The closure and cleaning are being implemented to mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus and protect the health and safety of students and staff.
All athletics, facilities rentals, and other extracurricular activities have been cancelled through Spring Break.