SHAWNEE MISSION, KS (KCTV) – Middle and high school students in the Shawnee Mission School District will return to remote learning. 

"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," the district said. 

The school district said the students will start remote learning beginning November 30, 2020 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,” the school district said.

The school district said they are working closely with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to monitor conditions in their 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,” the district continued.

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