USD 443 To Only Offer Face-to-Face Learning Starting Fall 2021

Judd Weil March 10, 2021

Superintendent of Schools Fred Dierksen told the Unified School District 443 Board of Education at their March 8 meeting, due to the decline of positive COVID-19 cases USD 443 will only offer Face-to-Face learning for the 2021-2022 school year.


This consideration is thanks in large part to the distribution of vaccines and the impact of anti-COVID procedures.


While doing away with wide Remote Learning, this essentially will appear to return students to the most the pre-coronavirus pandemic state of “normalcy” ever.


This move is not finalized, and is pending further directives from federal, state, and local government agencies advising restrictions to Face-to-Face learning.


Going forward, Remote Learning exceptions could be made due to justifiable and extreme circumstances.


“We need to know it and we need the public to know it, that our platform is going to be Face-to-Face because we believe the best education is for kids to be at school,” expressed Dierksen. “And if there is a child in an accident or a severe illness and they need to have school brough to them, we now know how to do that, and we will provide for every one of our children their education needs.”


With that Dierksen said, that with possibility of getting the second round of vaccines before the end of the 2020-2021 school year, he hopes by summer 2021, USD 443 will be able to announce that masks in schools will be optionable.


Dierksen also informed the board that as of March 8, USD 443 does not have any active positive COVID-19 cases in students and staff.


“So, we are at a great level right now and hope to continue that,” said Dierksen.


Dierksen added that Director of Safety Shawn Lampe was instrumental in working with the Ford County Health Department in order to give consenting USD 443 staff their first round of vaccinations.


“I will be very transparent and tell you I was a little disappointed that the percentage wasn’t higher, but we certainly aren’t going to force that, that’s a decision everyone has to make,” said Dierksen. “But we now will be going around in due time with the second round, except for those that were fortunate enough on Friday receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.”


The BOE approved unanimously the final cost to pursue the purchase of materials for the new K-12 curriculums.


The total cost of the curriculum is just short of $2 million and is expected to begin rollout by the start of the fall school year.


The BOE approved 7-0, the request to allow a half physical education credit and one science credit completed through the recently implemented Air Force JROTC program at Dodge City High School to count as core or elective credits required for graduation.


The credits would be awarded upon successful completion of the JROTC curriculum.


As USD 443 moves forward on relinquishing the TEC administration to 613 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, they will transition a portion of the Rialto Way program into a district-wide program, necessitating the need for a district-wide behavior coach.


The BOE approved with no contest, to implement a district-wide behavior coach.


The program will serve all schools through a student referral process and there are currently two certified and two classified staff in the Rialto Way Program.


One of the certified and one of the classified positions will become part of the district-wide team after an interview process, while the current staff will be reassigned to other positions in the district should they not be selected for the district-wide team.


Having a certified teacher with background in behavioral and social emotional interventions will be a critical piece of the district-wide approach to working with students, teachers, and families regarding areas of social emotional concern.


The behavior coach will work closely with the Elementary and Secondary Behavior Intervention Coordinator to develop interventions for students with needs.


The behavior coach will then help teachers in the classroom to understand, implement and track different interventions to make decisions that benefit students.


The BOE approved 6-0, the request for a change order for the demolition project of the old administration building in the amount of $1,978.76, to be deducted from the contract made with Hutton Construction.


The board originally approved a proposal from Hutton Construction for the demolition of the old administration building in June.


The next Board of Education meeting will be on April 12.



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