Breaking News Spring 2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
First Day of School 2020-21

The first days of School for Shawnee Mission students in the 2020-2021 school year have changed from their originally published dates. 

School will start for students on the following days:

August 17: Classes begin Grades 1-6, 7, 9 & 12

August 17: Early Dismissal-Grades 1-6; Conferences Pre-K & Kdg.

August 18: Classes begin Grades 8, 10-11

August 18: Pre-K & Kindergarten Conferences

August 19: First Day for Pre-K and Kindergarten       

The change was approved by the Board of Education at the June 22, 2020 Board of Education regular meeting. The recommendation to change was made in order to provide staff with additional professional development prior to school starting. The additional time was also proposed to ensure successful implementation for the school reopening plan.

The full 2020-2021 calendar can be viewed here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Shawnee Mission School District To Host In-Person Graduations
The Shawnee Mission School District will be hosting in-person graduations to celebrate the Class of 2020 in July. The district continues to follow guidance for large public gatherings from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment and will be prepared to adjust plans to move to a virtual graduation, if necessary.

The schedule for graduations is as follows:
East - July 14th @ North 8 p.m.                     South - July 14th @ South 8 p.m.
North - July 15th @ North 8 p.m.                   West - July 15th @ South 8 p.m.      
Northwest - July 16th @ North 8 p.m.          Arrowhead - July 16th @ South 6 p.m.
                                                                            Horizons - July 16th @ South 8 p.m.

Given current health guidance, social distancing guidelines will be followed. For that reason, in-person graduations will be outside in the North and South stadiums.

In the case of either a significant change in public health guidance and/or inclement weather, virtual graduations would be implemented, and in-person graduations would not be held.

The district is still finalizing specific plans, but given the need for social distancing, here are some of the guidelines:

  • Students will be on the field at the stadiums, arranged in socially-distanced fashion, six feet apart. This will likely mean that student seating will cover the entire field, with the exception of the stage. 
  • The ceremony itself will be adjusted, in order to allow for social distancing and to minimize physical contact. 

This year’s graduations will be a ticketed event and the number of tickets available to each graduate’s family will be determined with social distance guidelines. Family groups will need to arrive and be seated together, and there will be a minimum six-foot distance between family groups. Once the stadium capacities are determined, the school district will share information on the number of tickets available for each graduate.

Please note, any individual considered in a high-risk category for COVID-19 will be discouraged from attending. As in previous years, the ceremonies will be live-streamed and available to watch on YouTube. 

Monday, June 8, 2020
SMSD Athletic Fields and Playgrounds are Open

The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) is opening all athletic fields and playgrounds today, Monday, June 8, 2020. This decision is in line with the rescission of Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order which originally closed school buildings, along with guidance from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

In order to continue to protect the health and well-being of district residents, individuals using the playgrounds and fields will be expected to continue to follow social distancing guidelines (six feet or more between individuals who do not live in the same house), and to use hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after playground use. (Parents and caregivers are asked to closely monitor the behavior of their children, in order to ensure that social-distancing guidelines are followed.)

Also, conditioning for high school athletes will begin on Monday, June 15, 2020. Again, all participants will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines, along with proper hand-washing and sanitization procedures, and to stay home if any symptoms of illness are present. SMSD facilities rentals remain suspended through August, 2020.

We will continue to monitor and follow guidelines from public health officials, do everything in our power to lessen the transmission of COVID-19, and keep our community safe.

Thursday, May 14, 2020
We continue to follow the plans laid out by Governor Laura Kelly to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus, along with advice from both the state and county health departments. As you know, guidance on COVID-19 is regularly updated by federal, state and/or county authorities. Accordingly, our plans are adjusted to adhere to this guidance. Here is where things currently stand:

Buildings Closed - School buildings continue to be closed, and will remain closed, except for essential functions, through July 16, 2020. No in-person instruction will take place in any of our buildings during the time buildings are closed. Access to buildings for essential functions will be managed by the building principal. No building or facilities rentals will take place through August.

Masks Required - In order to promote safety, all staff and patrons who wish to enter a district facility are required to wear a mask while they are in the building, except when they are alone in an individual, closed office. Buildings will also establish specific protocols to ensure social distancing, and we ask that all patrons and staff follow them. Face coverings are not meant to replace public health strategies like social distancing, staying home if you are ill, and practicing good hand hygiene – which are all still the best ways to help slow the spread of the COVID-19. 

Outdoor Activities Begin July 6 – In compliance with the Kansas Framework, outdoor activities, such as conditioning for fall sports and band practice, may begin starting on July 6, 2020.

Monday, May 4, 2020
Reopen Kansas Executive Summary

Johnson County will begin Phase 1 of the state recovery plan on May 11th.  The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will evaluate when we can move to Phase 2 (hopefully May 18th).  Determination of movement from phase to phase is based on gating criteria. Gating criteria includes the number of COVID19 cases (stable or declining over a 14-day period), the number of hospitalizations (stable or downward trajectory), and number of deaths (downward trajectory within 14 day period).

April 24, 2020 Athletic Fields Closed
After several different attempts to find a workable solution, the Shawnee Mission School District has made the decision to close all athletic fields, in order to comply with personal distancing guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. While the district recognizes the need for children, families and community members to get outside and remain active during Governor Laura Kelly’s “Stay at Home” order, the district also has the responsibility to support the personal distancing guidelines issued by the state. Several attempts were made to find a compromise to allow use of the fields while also strictly following personal distancing and other health guidelines.

Unfortunately, the district continued to experience repeated violations of those guidelines, as well as attempts to circumvent the spirit of the guidelines by organized groups. For those reasons, the district has made the decision to completely close all athletic fields until further notice. These closures will be posted, and violators will be prosecuted. We will continue to permit use of the tracks for walking/running, as long as personal distancing guidelines are followed. We appreciate your understanding of and adherence to these new guidelines.

April 13, 2020 Meal Distribution Update
The schedule for meal distribution is changing. Meals will be provided on Monday, April 13, and Tuesday, April 14.  Beginning Wednesday, April 15 meals will be distributed only on Mondays and Wednesdays.  

After April 15, this means families will be picking up:  
On Monday- two days of breakfast and lunch meals
On Wednesday- three days of breakfast and lunch meals

This change in service allows families and community members less human interaction, providing an additional measure of support in following current Stay at Home Orders, and limiting travel in the community.

Time: 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 
Dates: March 24, 2020 - May 22, 2020

  • 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

Click here for more information.

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:
    • Football
    • Basketball
    • Baseball
    • Soccer
    • Frisbee

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 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.