LPS & Pius Change Schedules to Handle COVID Surge

(KFOR NEWS  January 14, 2022)   Lincoln Public Schools is canceling classes for three consecutive Fridays to handle the recent COVID surge.  Lincoln Pius the Tenth High School will be in session for half days, starting Monday.  No changes of schedule have been made at either Lincoln Lutheran High School, College View Academy, or Parkview Christian School.

The following is a statement from LPS:

The recent rapid rise of COVID-19 positive students and staff reported to Lincoln Public Schools mirrors that seen in Lincoln and Lancaster County. A trend that has officials at LPS concerned.  Today officials announced new strategies to address a large number of students missing school and on-going staffing shortages.

“The recent rapid rise of COVID-19 cases has created a significant crisis. We have a large number of students who are missing classes due to illness, and they are struggling to make up that missed instruction,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “Another key issue for us continues to be ensuring we have sufficient staff in our schools to continue safely serving all students every single day. We need to think outside the box and look at all of our options.”

One of the strategies that will be implemented in the short-term to address these concerns includes COVID Response Fridays – cancelling all classes for students on Fridays for three weeks starting with Jan. 21, 2022. The only exception is for The Career Academy classes that will be in session in consideration of dual credit instructional hour requirements and scheduling limitations.

LPS buildings will remain open on these days and staff will be working. Elementary and before and after school programs (CLCs) and middle school extracurricular activities and after school programs (CLCs) will be closed. High school student extracurricular activities and athletic practices and events will continue as scheduled. High school CLCs will be closed. COVID Response Fridays will be on Jan. 21,  Jan. 28, and Feb. 4.

Using district-wide COVID Response Fridays will aid students who are home due to illness as they will be able to receive staff support virtually on work they have missed. This will also allow staff to recoup valuable planning and work time lost to covering extra classes Monday through Thursday.

“We understand this can cause extra stress for families, and do not make this decision lightly,” added Joel. “These are not days off. Staff will still be working and supporting students. This is a temporary tool we can use to help everyone catch up, and ensure prudent staffing levels when students are present in our buildings.”

Other strategies announced by LPS include:

  • Planning for temporary classroom, program or school to move to remote learning if necessary: LPS will be able to temporarily move any K-12 classrooms, whole grade levels or entire school buildings to 100% remote learning if it is determined there are not sufficient staff available to safely operate. This is not something that will be used district-wide, only on a case-by-case basis. Students in quarantine will not be able to remote into in-person classrooms – only if the entire class is remote. Students and families can access this website for resources to assist them while their child is quarantining.
  • Proactive remote learning preparation for K-12 students: In the event we do have to temporarily move a classroom, program or school to remote learning, we will be holding teacher-led practice sessions for K-12 students over the next week. This will give teachers and students the confidence to switch from in-person to remote if needed.

“Our community and our families have always been supportive and understanding, and for that we are grateful. Getting through this surge will take everyone doing their part to support one another,” said Joel.

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