Breaking News 2020-2021

Monday, January 5, 2021
Message from Dr. Mike Fulton  
Learning Model Update

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, middle and high school students in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) will return to in-person learning, using the hybrid learning model. Elementary students will continue with in-person learning. Students whose families have selected remote learning will remain remote.

During hybrid learning, students with last names (A-Lamb) will attend on-site Monday and Tuesday, and receive instruction remotely on Wednesday and Thursday. Students with last names (Lamc-Z) attend on-site Wednesday and Thursday and receive instruction remotely on Monday and Tuesday. On Fridays, all students will learn remotely. In addition, some students may work on-site in small groups on Fridays, as determined by academic needs. Special education services will continue as detailed in the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). If the IEP has established an Alternate Service Plan, those services will continue as outlined.

The district is able to return to in-person instruction for secondary students due to success in preventing COVID-19 transmission in schools and an increase in staffing capacity through the hiring of December graduates. This notice is consistent with our commitment to provide a minimum 14-day notice when moving from one mode of instruction to another, except in situations requiring immediate action.

Students and staff will continue to follow all COVID-19 mitigating actions, including masking, social distancing, and handwashing. We will continue to work with public health officials to implement all measures necessary to keep students and staff safe.

You will receive more detailed information from your child’s school about the transition in the coming days. If you have specific questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s principal. We look forward to welcoming secondary students and staff back to school in hybrid learning on January 26, 2021.

Monday, November 16, 2020
Message from Dr. Mike Fulton

As you know, the number of COVID-19 infections in Johnson County has been rising dramatically over the last several weeks. One of the impacts of this rise on the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) is that we are finding it more difficult to staff our buildings for in-person learning, given the number of staff currently in quarantine or isolation. We have reached the point where we are unable to fully staff all of our buildings, and need to make a change.

Beginning November 30, 2020, all secondary students (middle and high school) will return to remote learning, and will continue in remote learning through the end of the first semester (January 22, 2021). 

It is important to emphasize that this decision is not being made because of COVID-19 transmission within our schools. (You can see the SMSD dashboard here.) We continue to see schools doing an excellent job of implementing mitigating factors such as social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, and completing daily COVID-19 assessments. Those actions seem to be working to keep transmission low within schools. Still, we have a rising number of employees who are in quarantine or isolation, which is impacting our ability to staff buildings at all levels. Implementing remote learning for our secondary students will allow us to shift critical resources such as substitutes to the elementary level, giving us the best opportunity to keep elementary students in-person.

It will be critically important that families continue with the mitigation efforts mentioned above, as we approach this Thanksgiving holiday break. Otherwise, community transmission levels could impact our ability to staff elementary schools, and to perform necessary contact tracing to identify potential spread within our buildings. Again, students and staff have been doing an excellent job of keeping schools safe to remain open, but they can’t do that by themselves. Staffing is a critical issue, and we need the entire community’s help in keeping schools open.

For elementary parents, it is very important that you take the above into consideration as you plan in the weeks ahead. We are working closely with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to monitor conditions in our buildings and the district. In the interest of student and staff safety, we will not hesitate to move from in-person to remote learning if health conditions and/or staffing limitations require us to do so. To the greatest extent possible, the district will provide a minimum 14-day notice when moving from one mode of instruction to another, except in situations requiring immediate action.

These are challenging times, and certainly not what any of us would have hoped for over the holiday season. Together, we can do what is necessary to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in our community and in our schools. Thank you for supporting the health of our SMSD community during these difficult times.

Friday, November 13, 2020
In this Update:

  • Gating Criteria Update
  • Staffing
  • Help Stop COVID-19
  • Resources

This week, the Board of Education held a special meeting, which included a discussion on gating criteria related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This update includes information about that discussion, and how it might impact you and your family over the next few weeks.

At the center of the discussion on Nov. 10, was the reality of the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in Johnson County.

Gating Criteria Update
Elizabeth Holzschuh, director of epidemiology for Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE), provided an update from JCDHE about COVID-19 in Johnson County. She stated during the meeting that JCDHE is not recommending that schools go remote at all school levels. That stance is based in part on very low transmission rates inside schools in Johnson County, including the Shawnee Mission School District. Many staff members have worked untold hours to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while keeping schools open. This has been an incredible feat and is a reason to continue the mitigation strategies in place in school buildings.

On Nov. 10, the Board of Education approved two following authorizations:

  1. SMSD, under the authority of the Superintendent, will follow JCDHE recommendations regarding academics, including in-person instruction, except where deemed necessary to be more restrictive, such as limited staffing.
  2. The Board also authorized the superintendent to have latitude regarding athletics and activities to be more or less restrictive than JCDHE criteria, depending on the superintendent’s determination. As shared on October 30, the decision was made to move forward with high school winter activities and athletics with mitigations and safety protocols in place.

The community at large is seeing significant spikes in positive cases of COVID-19. This has a real and direct impact on staffing schools. If positive cases continue to increase in our community, schools will not be able to be safely and appropriately staffed. As a reminder, the district will provide a minimum 14-day notice when moving from one mode of instruction to another, except in situations requiring immediate action.

It is important for our community to be prepared: If we are not able to staff our schools due to illness, this could result in a situation where we have to move some or all of our schools to remote learning.

Stop the Spread of COVID-19
To keep students in school, the spread of COVID-19 must be stopped, not only in district buildings, but in our community. Please follow these steps to prevent the virus from spreading:

  • Wearing masks
  • Practicing social distancing
  • Washing hands
  • Staying home if sick 

It’s important families continue to monitor students for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Please review the Daily COVID-19 assessment here

We are asking all SMSD families to cooperate with contact tracing by the district and the JCDHE. This tracing is essential in efforts to keep schools open.  

Thank you to every SMSD educator; they are exerting tremendous effort in support of our mission to serve students, despite the challenges this year has brought.

We must provide one another support as the global pandemic carries on. Knowing mental health is a primary concern in our community, we want to be sure that family members are aware of resources and ways to find help:

  • Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or those supporting someone in crisis are encouraged to call the Johnson County Mental Health 24/7 crisis line at 913-268-0156.
  • Families who need support are encouraged to reach out to their school social worker, who can connect them with additional resources.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership in support of our students. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
COVID-19 Reporting Update

The Shawnee Mission School District continues to monitor new cases of COVID-19 in our schools. We work closely with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) to monitor the spread of the virus and follow the recommendations of our public health department with respect to addressing positive cases, presumed positive cases, and exposures. The information provided on the reporting page is updated on Monday of each week based on the information available to the district through individual reporting and contact tracing. Click here to view the COVID-19 Reporting page. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
New Pick up Time for Meals

Remote meal pick up on Fridays from 6:30-7:45 a.m. New pick up times are effective on Friday, October 23, 2020. This time change is necessary in order to keep the students safe as we transition to in-person students on Fridays. We apologize if this is inconvenient and realize this isn’t ideal for some families. We remain committed to serving all students.

FREE meals are offered to all SMSD students regardless if they are learning remote, hybrid or in person. This includes breakfast and lunch meals. Meals are funded entirely by USDA as part of their Summer Meals Program extension. These free meals will continue through the end of the 2020-21 school year. We encourage families to continue to apply for free and reduced meals. Qualifying may allow for other support through the district.

Students will receive their in-person meals at no cost during the days they are in school. Any extra ala carte purchases the students make will require money to be on their food service account.

Monday, October, 19, 2020
Hybrid and In-person Schedules

The following is the schedule for students Shawnee Mission who selected in-person learning to move from remote learning to the hybrid learning model and finally to in-person learning.
Elementary Hybrid/Transition Schedule:
Oct. 19-23    Grades Pre-K-2 On-Site Daily, Grades 3-6 Hybrid Model
Oct. 26-30      All students grades Pre-K-6 on-site daily

During the hybrid schedule parents can plan for the days their student would be in session on-site or learning remotely:

  • A-LamB schedule for on-site M-T and remote learning W-Th-F 
  • LamC-Z for on-site W-Th and remote learning M-T-F

During hybrid, all students learn remotely on Fridays.

Middle and High Hybrid Schedule
Oct. 23, 2020      A remote learning day for all middle and high school (secondary) students enrolled in In-Person Learning in the Shawnee Mission School District.
Oct. 26, 2020      All students grades 7-12 begin Hybrid, so long as we are in the orange or yellow criteria, with modifying variables in place for in-class instruction

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts by last name
  • Monday and Tuesday

        ○ Last names starting A - Lamb attend in person

        ○ Last names starting Lamc - Z work remotely via Canvas/Webex

Teachers are strongly encouraged to offer an opportunity for remote students to view classroom instruction remotely via Webex

  • Wednesday and Thursday

        ○ Last names starting Lamc - Z attend in person

        ○ Last names starting A - Lamb work remotely via Canvas/Webex

Teachers are strongly encouraged to offer an opportunity for remote students to view classroom instruction remotely via Webex

All students attend all classes remotely via Webex for live instruction on Friday.

Friday, October 2, 2020
Updated School Gating Criteria

Staff and families received information on the updated gating criteria regarding COVID-19 from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE). You may see the gating criteria here.

For elementary students, there will be no change to their learning model as a result of this update. For secondary (middle and high school)  students who selected in-person learning, we will provide a hybrid model of instruction when in the yellow or orange categories. Secondary students who selected a remote learning model will remain remote. When we are in the red category all students will be remote.

Assuming the county remains in the orange or yellow gating criteria, and with mitigating adjustments in place, secondary students would transition to hybrid learning on Monday, October 26, 2020. As a reminder, we will provide a minimum 14-day notice when moving from one mode of instruction to another, except in situations requiring immediate action.

Friday, September 11, 2020
Elementary Reopening Update

On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, families received correspondence about changes in the elementary schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. Here is some additional information to help explain why this decision was made and address concerns. 

Please view the following links: 
A short video with additional information
Frequently Asked Questions

The deadline for the learning model selection is 4 p.m. on Monday, September 14. for certainty of classroom placement for the entire year, please make your selection now

For more details on the semester selection, please review the video and the frequently asked questions page. 

If you have already completed the form and this information in any way changes your selection, simply resubmit your selection.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Special Board Meeting Recap

Athletic and Activities Update: Richard Kramer, director of athletics and activities, shared guidance and protocols for the Shawnee Mission School District that outline precautions to minimize risk. He noted to the Board that students and coaches practiced and followed these protocols in the summer, during the time Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) guidelines allowed for participation. The time to practice and implement COVID-19 mitigating measures earlier this year, he said, will allow participants to resume participation and effectively implement mitigation measures. 

Dr. Areola, JCDHE director, also stated that JCDHE would be updating gating criteria soon. In light of this guidance, Board of Education members authorized Dr. Fulton to immediately resume extracurricular activities and athletics in a manner consistent with guidelines issued by JCDHE, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas State High School Activities Association, the Sunflower League, and school administration designated to address COVID-19. The Board of Education approved the authorization, following a 5-2 vote. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Elementary Reopening Update

The first step in moving from remote to in-person learning (for families who have selected the in-person model) is to implement the hybrid model (two days in-person and three days remote). Starting in-person instruction using the hybrid learning model allows students and staff the opportunity to develop the habits necessary for eventually having all students in class. Taking a deliberate approach towards moving from remote to the hybrid model will promote the health and well-being of students, staff, and the community, while at the same time providing families with a more predictable schedule. 

Once we transition to hybrid, we will remain in hybrid or in-person for the remainder of the school year unless otherwise directed by the JCHDE. Our goal is to have those students who chose in-person learning in school full-time as soon as possible. When we begin the transition to all in-person, we will start with our youngest learners and move up in grade levels. This timeline is contingent on meeting JCDHE guidelines for classroom instruction, including use of masks and meeting minimum distancing requirements.

Sept 14-18:                    Remote all students Pre-K-6
Sept 21-25                     Remote all students Pre-K-6
Sept 28-Oct 2               Remote all students Pre-K-6
(New Schedules begin)
Oct. 5-9                         Hybrid for in-person students Pre-K-2
Oct. 12-16                      Hybrid for in-person students Pre-K-6
Oct 19-23                      Transition to all in-person begins 

The hybrid schedule will be utilized when necessary and parents can plan for the days their student would be in session on-site and remotely.

  • A-LamB schedule for on-site M-T and remote learning W-Th-F 
  • LamC-Z for on-site W-Th and remote learning M-T-F

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Update from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE)
Dr. Samni Areola, JCDHE health director, provided an update of his meeting with school superintendents earlier today. You may read the update here.


Friday, September 4, 2020
SMSD to Provide Free Meals to SMSD Students

The food service department is pleased to announce that we will be offering FREE meals to all SMSD students regardless if they are learning remote, hybrid or in person. This includes breakfast and lunch meals. Meals that were picked up on Friday 9/4/20 will not be charged to the student’s account. 

Meals are funded entirely by USDA as part of their Summer Meals Program extension. These free meals will continue as long as federal funding is available and could end prior to 12/31/20. We encourage families to continue to apply for free and reduced meals in the event the funding is no longer available by clicking here. Qualifying may allow for other support through the district so it is important to continue to apply for free and reduced meals.

  • Meals will be available for pick up at all 47 SMSD schools.
  • Pick up on Fridays from 7:00-9:00 a.m.
  • No advance ordering is needed. (The online digital ordering system has been disabled.)
  • Available only for students enrolled in SMSD.
  • May pick up meals for all of your students at your most convenient location.
  • At pick up, the student(s) SMSD ID number(s) will need to be presented. Please have this ready in advance.  (Student ID may be found in Skyward.)
  • Pick up will be just inside the doors of school. Pease wear a mask and follow social distancing.

During remote learning each week’s pick up will include 7 breakfast and 7 lunches for each student.

Menus are available on the district web page by clicking here and are subject to change due to availability. All entrées and sides need to be taken home and refrigerated or frozen until ready to heat or consume.

Each breakfast meal includes these components:  fruit, grain, and milk
Each lunch meal includes these components:  protein, fruit/vegetable, grain, and milk

When the district is able to move to the hybrid model, the students will receive their in-person meals at no cost during the two days they are in school. Meals may be picked up on Friday for the other 5 days of the week. Any extra ala carte purchases the students make while in-person learning will require money to be on their food service account.

Meals are prepared by District Food Services staff and distributed following food safety and sanitary practices.

Please contact the Food Service office with questions at (913)993-9710 or

The school breakfast & lunch menus, digital pre-order information and other nutrition information are available on the district’s website at

Wednesday September 2, 2020
SMSD Live and Testing

At the SMSD live event the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment shared good news that the county is working to expand testing of COVID 19 for preK-12 schools. That was followed up with news later in the week that the state of Kansas is pursuing increased testing for schools. The advent of testing holds promise to provide the county and school districts with timely data on the status on COVID-19 in schools, allowing us a much better understanding of steps we need to take to reduce the risk of spread. This includes informing the mode of instruction we should use (remote, hybrid, all in-person) in order to reduce the risk of spread among students and staff.

Monday, August 31, 2020
First Day of School Information

The first day of school for students in grades 1-6, 7, 9, and 12 is on Tuesday, September 8. This is an early dismissal day for students in grades 1-6. Pre-Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners will have conferences on September 8 and 9.

Students in Grades 8, 10, and 11 will begin school on Wednesday, September 9.

The first day of school for Pre-Kindergartners and Kindergartners will be on Thursday, September 10.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Opening with the Remote Learning Model

This afternoon, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) released the gating zone the county will be in for the start of school on September 8, 2020.

The gating zone will be RED. According to county health director Sanmi Areola, “The spread of the virus is still increasing in Johnson County. Unfortunately, we have not met the threshold in the school gating criteria for a safe return to in-person learning, even for a hybrid model.”

While in-person learning for elementary students is allowed, Shawnee Mission School District is taking this cautionary note to heart.

As a result, using the criteria previously established, Shawnee Mission School District is beginning the school year with all students learning remotely. This decision is in line with guidance from JCDHE, and is being made to do everything possible to keep students, staff, and their families safe and healthy.

While starting remotely is in the best interest of students and staff, the intent is that, as county data improve, Shawnee Mission School District can transition to the hybrid model, where students attend school in-person twice a week. Beginning a future transition to in-person learning using the hybrid model gives students and staff the best opportunity to learn how to manage learning in a safe manner. The ultimate goal is to eventually transition to full in-person learning for all students, as county health conditions allow. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Message from Superintendent Fulton

Dr Fulton sent a message to all staff and families that included the following information:

●      Action Needed: Time to Make a Learning Model Selection

●      A Science-Based, Safety-First Approach

●      2020-21 District Calendar Adjusted

See Dr. Fulton's update here. You may review the Learning Models here.

Wednesday, July 22,2020
First Days of School Update
Superintendent Mike Fulton shared that Shawnee Mission School District students will return to school after Labor Day. District leaders are in the process of determining what the first days of school will be for students, along with changes to staff return dates. Proposed calendar changes will be brought to the Board of Education to consider during their regular meeting on Monday, July 27, 2020.  

Friday, July 17, 2020
Pick and Go Meals Extend into August

The free food service pick up and go meals will continue to be available through August 21, 2020. 

Pick up and go meals are available on Monday and Wednesdays from 10:30AM – 11:30AM at 

  1. Comanche Elementary, 8200 Grant St., Overland Park
  2. Rosehill Elementary, 9801 Rosehill, Lenexa
  3. Shawanoe Elementary, 11230 W. 75th St., Shawnee
  4. Hocker Grove Middle School, 10400 Johnson Dr., Shawnee

These meals are free for any child ages 1-18 years of age and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Children must be present for pick up. Contact Food Services if special circumstances prevent child being present. Meals distributed on Mondays will include 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches. Meals distributed on Wednesdays will include 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches. Menus are posted on the district web page but are subject to change due to product availability. Additional information and menus are available at:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Virtual Graduation Ceremonies to be Broadcast, In-Person Ceremonies Canceled 
In place of each live ceremony, Shawnee Mission will broadcast virtual graduation ceremonies on the following dates and times:

East               July 14th, 8 p.m.
South            July 14th, 8 p.m.          
North            July 15th, 8 p.m. 
West             July 15th, 8 p.m.          
Northwest   July 16th, 8 p.m.
Arrowhead  July 16th, 6 p.m.
Horizons      July 16th, 8 p.m.

Links to the broadcast will be available on the district website the day of the scheduled graduation. In addition, graduates receive information directly from principals about links to download the graduation, so they and their family members and friends can all celebrate the graduation of the Class of 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.