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Return to School 2020-2021

January 19

Elementary (PK-5) students return within the A/B Hybrid Learning Model (students are split into two groups and attend school in-person TWO days per week)

February 1

Elementary students begin attending school in-person FOUR days per week (with Wednesdays to remain a remote learning day)

Secondary students (grades 6-12) will return within the A/B Hybrid Learning Model and attend school in-person TWO days per week

February 15

Secondary students will begin attending school in-person FOUR days per week (with Wednesdays to remain a remote learning day)

January 12, 2020

Please note the following food service changes taking effect on January 18:

Elementary students in Track A may take home free meals each Tuesday while those in Track B may take meals home each Friday. If you would like to add your child to the take-home meal list OR remove them from it, please contact the school.

Middle school, high school, and other full-time remote students may pick up a week's worth of free meals each Monday from 3-4:30 p.m. from Ark City Middle School (NW Entrance). 

December 15, 2020

At its regular meeting Monday night, the USD 470 Board of Education approved relaxing the district’s gating criteria for elementary students (pre-k through fifth grade) as recommended by the Kansas State Department of Education.

In addition to changing the gating criteria, the school board approved extending remote learning for all USD 470 students through January 18 to help limit exposure within the schools following holiday gatherings. 

Elementary students will return on January 19 via the hybrid model we used at the beginning of the year (Group A and Group B each attending 2 days in-person and 3 days remote). Every effort will be made to maintain students' previous group assignments. Any necessary changes will be communicated by the school.

The model in which students in grades 6 through 12 return will depend on local COVID-19 conditions at that time. Learn more:

November 23, 2020

The Arkansas City school district continues to experience additional COVID-19 cases and close contacts resulting in quarantine. As a result of the current situation, all USD 470 students will continue to learn remotely until January 5, 2021.

“Currently, COVID-19 conditions within our district do not allow for in-person learning,” USD 470 Superintendent Dr. Ron Ballard said. “We have conferred with state and local health officials and unfortunately, conditions are anticipated to worsen, potentially throughout the holiday season.”

Ballard said the school district is partnering with several other entities in Cowley County on a ‘crushing COVID’ public awareness campaign. The campaign encourages citizens to do more to slow the spread of COVID-19. Such proactive measures include wearing a mask, avoiding gatherings, increasing hygiene efforts, and monitoring health.

“We’re at a point where each of us needs to accept responsibility and do our part to make a difference,” Ballard said. “Without the public’s support of these measures, I’m afraid we won’t see any significant improvement.”  

November 14, 2020

UPDATE: FREE meals will be available for every student even during this time of remote learning. Meals can be picked up at the NW entrance of Arkansas City Middle School on Mondays from 9-noon and 3-4:30 p.m.

The school district is experiencing additional COVID-19 cases and a significant increase in the number or close contacts being excluded from school due to quarantine. 

As a result of these increases, all USD 470 schools will temporarily transition to remote learning until after Thanksgiving. Fortunately, we have planned for this scenario and are ready to quickly make the transition.

This temporary remote learning plan will, for the time being, permit the continuation of activities and athletics. That will be subject to final board review and action at the November 23 Board of Education meeting.

We hope to resume our modified hybrid model (in-person learning four days per week with Wednesdays as remote learning days) on November 30 as long as conditions allow.

Please know that we are taking this action in the interest of everyone’s health and safety. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to staff schools which is why some of our schools had already transitioned to remote learning.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 within our community, we believe it is important for our students and families to limit outside contact as well. During this school closure, we encourage you to avoid large gatherings, wear masks, and practice good hygiene and healthy habits.

We will continue to closely monitor this situation and will provide additional information as needed. Thank you for your continued support.

October 29, 2020

Reminder - there is no school tomorrow, October 30. Have a fun and safe long weekend! 

We are looking forward to having everyone back in school together Monday, November 2. Our staff has been working diligently to prepare safe learning environments that accommodate all students. 

One area facing change is transportation. Some routes may need to be altered and some schools may need to split students into two groups after school. This may alter the time students arrive home. In general, pick-up and drop-off times may fluctuate while drivers work through things these first few days. We appreciate your patience! This group has been working hard to make this transition as seamless as possible.

Remember, there may be extra traffic on the roads Monday and additional pedestrians as everyone travels to school. Please be aware of your surroundings during your commute. Slow down in school zones, watch for pedestrians, and stop for school bus stop arms. It takes all of us to keep the children in our community safe!

October 28, 2020

We suspect that while many are thrilled to return to school buildings four days per week, some may have questions and concerns regarding safety protocols.

One area of concern, due to the larger number of students gathering in one place, is food service. Each school handles meals differently but each group is doing the best they can to maintain a safe environment while still allowing for social interaction.

Some schools are having students eat in alternate areas such as classrooms in order to maintain a safer social distance. Most are assigning students to certain tables during lunch to keep students with their classmates and are social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Students wash or sanitize hands before eating and tables are wiped with a disinfectant cleaner between each group of students. Some buildings may be offering additional lunch periods to help distribute students into smaller groups. We appreciate your understanding as meal times may be adjusted.

Meals will continue to be free for every student through the end of the school year! Remote Learning students will still be able to pick up their free meals at the Ark City Middle School each Wednesday. Since there’s no school on Friday, Oct. 30, Group B students can take their meals home Thursday, Oct. 29. We look forward to seeing everyone back in the buildings on November 2!

October 27, 2020

USD 470 recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce to subsidize internet connectivity for students who qualify for the Cox Connect2Compete program. This program provides basic Cox internet access for approx. $10/month. Now, USD 470 will be able to pay for that service for qualifying students through December 2020. To see if you qualify, please go to If you qualify and wish to participate, please contact Cox to sign-up for the service and notify the USD 470 Business Office at 620-441-2000.

The school district has also ordered WiFi hotspots to help provide internet access to qualifying students who may not have access to Cox internet services due to living outside the Cox coverage area.

October 26, 2020

At its meeting this evening, the USD 470 Board of Education voted to maintain Wednesdays as remote learning days for all USD 470 students. Students will be back in school, in-person, the other four days of the week.

We hope this will allow students and teachers to maintain and improve upon the remote learning option should it be needed at any point in the future. It could also allow students additional opportunities for individualized instruction and assistance. Also, remote attendance on Wednesdays will allow for more thorough cleaning and disinfecting midweek. We anticipate this being a temporary, transitional effort and expect to bring students back five days a week for the start of the second semester in January.

With this transition and the reduction in Remote Learning teachers, there will be some changes to a few students’ class/teacher assignments. In many cases, those students and their families have already been notified. Any others will be notified this week.

​We appreciate your continued patience and support. Th​e past several months have brought about many difficult decisions and the impact on families is not lost on us. Thank you for sticking with us as we strive to make the right decisions for our students.

October 22, 2020

It is hard to believe we are already facing the potential for winter weather. Should we have inclement weather this year, please plan to learn remotely just as you have on your hybrid remote days. We will make an announcement if/when it becomes necessary but we wanted to notify you of this plan since we face the potential for inclement weather Monday, Oct. 26.

October 21, 2020

As we prepare for the return to full-time, face-to-face learning on November 2, we want to address a common Pre-K question. 

In an effort to simplify the transition and maintain consistency for families, Wednesdays will continue to be the day off for half-day Pre-K students. This will allow for a seamless transition should we need to return to a hybrid or remote situation in the future. 

The 2020-2021 calendar will remain the same for all other grade levels including full-day Pre-K.

October 19, 2020

We are looking forward to welcoming all students back to school on November 2! We know this has been a trying time for everyone and we appreciate your continued support. 

As we transition back to full time, face-to-face learning, please know we will continue to follow health and safety protocols such as temperature checks, masks, and frequent handwashing. This includes social distancing to the greatest extent possible which might require utilizing locations such as gyms, libraries, auditoriums, and other spaces. 

Each school will be communicating any changes specific to that building but we wanted to give you preliminary information as we move closer to November 2. Our goal is to keep students and staff as safe as possible with the least amount of disruption!

October 13, 2020

At its regular meeting last night, the USD 470 Board of Education authorized the return to full, in-person learning on November 2. It also authorized the extension of the full remote learning program for those already participating.

Please be mindful that as long as there are cases of COVID-19 in the community, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk for transmission within our school population. Rather, it is our goal to minimize risks and provide a safe learning environment for our staff and students.

For the safety of our entire school community, we ask you to perform basic health checks prior to sending your child to school each day and to keep your child(ren) home from school and activities if they do not feel well or have COVID-19 symptoms.

We appreciate your support as we work together to keep our schools and community safe!

September 8, 2020

USDA has extended FREE meals for all students through this first semester! This applies to both in-person (Hybrid) and Remote Learning students. Learn more and/or order meals here: 

September 1, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to keep our participants and spectators as safe as possible, USD 470 has implemented new guidelines for the 2020 Fall athletic season.

View info here:

August 31, 2020

USD 470 students are eligible to receive school meals, M-F, regardless of whether they’re in the district’s Remote Learning Program or are participating in the Hybrid Model. For more info, visit

August 26, 2020

Elementary schools will be contacting families about how to schedule a "Meet the Teacher" appointment for September 2 or 3. Bring school supplies, meet your teacher, and receive important information! Learn More.

For information about the middle school’s 6th Grade Orientation and Bullpup Parent Nights, Click Here.

The high school will have 9th Grade Orientation and laptop distribution days for parents and students to come into the building and receive more information. To learn more, click below:

9th Grade Orientation

ACHS Laptop Distribution

August 25, 2020

Due to Cowley County’s current restrictions on public gatherings, our hs/ms events will have spectator restrictions. More info:

August 25, 2020

The USD 470 Board of Education approved the Return to School: Learning Model Criteria guidance at its August 24 meeting. You can view the document HERE.

August 21, 2020

PowerSchool accounts have been updated with an A, B, or C by each student’s name. Please login to your child’s PowerSchool account to view their placement. Parents of Pre-K students will receive a phone call about their child’s placement.

  • Students in Group A will attend on-site Monday and Tuesday and will attend remotely on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  
  • Students in Group B will attend on-site Thursday and Friday, and will attend remotely on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  
  • Wednesday is a remote-learning day for all students to allow for more thorough cleaning mid-week before the next group of students attends. 
  • Students in Group C will attend remotely full-time. These are students who have opted-in to our Remote Learning Program.

As in past years, schedule changes at the secondary level may be necessary in order to best meet the needs of students and to accommodate scheduling restraints. Should changes need to occur, you will be contacted by school counselors.  

Please note that September 9 is the first day of school and is a remote day for all students. Each student will be issued a district device in advance of that day and schools will share additional information prior to the start of school. We are currently planning on following the Hybrid Model through October 29. 

August 18, 2020

We want to remind you that the deadline, for indicating whether you prefer for your child(ren) to be in Group A or Group B for attendance while the Hybrid Model is in place, is 4 p.m. Wednesday, August 19. 

Please know there is no guarantee that preferences will be met but every effort will be made to accommodate preferences regarding sibling groups. We hope to notify parents which group their child is in this Friday - August 21. 

Even though September 9 is a Wednesday (a remote day for everyone), device check-out plans are underway and will be shared in the next few days. Students will have the opportunity to get the tools they need before starting school on the 9th. While computers will be needed, not all educational activities will require internet access, and assignments could be downloaded to the device at school and completed remotely. Additional information will be shared as plans are finalized.

August 13, 2020

If your child is attending school in-person (Hybrid for now), please log back onto PowerSchool to indicate your preference for attendance days, etc… The form can be found under 2020-2021 Learning Together.

More details will be shared in the coming days but in the meantime, you can view the whole Learning Together Plan here: as well as answers to frequently asked questions at


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August 10, 2020

The USD 470 School Board approved the Hybrid Model for the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year (through October 29). In this model, students who have chosen in-person school (as opposed to opting for full-time Remote Learning) will be split into two groups – Group A and Group B. Group A will attend classes at school for two days and will be learning from home for three days. Group B will do the same but on different days. This allows for smaller class sizes and better social distancing. Registration information is coming soon and every effort will be made to keep sibling units on the same schedule if that is preferred by the family. More details will be shared in the coming days but in the meantime, you can view the whole Learning Together Plan here.

August 4, 2020

Due to recent website outages, we are extending the deadline for Remote Learning applications until 4 p.m. Friday, August 7.

Please remember that even if you’re choosing Remote Learning for your child, you still need to enroll for school online via PowerSchool in addition to completing the Remote Learning Application found at

We also want to address some frequently asked questions about remote learning. 

The USD 470 Remote Learning option is NOT a virtual school. It is an option that allows students to learn the same competencies as students attending in-person classes. Remote students will be able to check-out a district device to participate but will need to have quality, reliable internet access at home. 

Our Remote Learning curriculum will feature a strong, teacher-led online component as well as daily contact with a teacher, and a variety of online instructional experiences, tasks, assignments, and projects. The same digital resources and platforms (ie: SeeSaw, Google Classroom, MobyMax, Khan Academy, and others) will be used by students attending in-person.

Students participating in remote learning will need to adhere to - and log - the same amount of instructional time as required by the state for ALL students. This equates to six hours of daily Remote Learning time. This, however, does NOT require all students to be on their device for six consecutive hours. There will be flexibility in when work is completed each day. 

Remote Learning students will have the opportunity to participate in some electives, athletics, and co-curricular activities. At the elementary level, students will be able to participate in elective activities remotely. At the secondary level, students will have the opportunity to participate in performance-based activities such as band, choir, and orchestra but some classes that would require on-site attendance (ex. Welding) would not be available to participate in remotely. Since remote learning is only a one-semester commitment, those classes could potentially be taken during another semester.

We know families are facing tough decisions. We appreciate your patience and your trust in us as we navigate this unique school year!

July 30, 2020

We are basing our return-to-school plans on guidance from local, state, and national health and education officials. We’ve also incorporated input from staff, families, and community members. The health/safety of these groups are our priority and greatly impacts our decisions.

Understanding the need to be flexible this year, we will work within a framework that provides two enrollment options for families.

Option 1 – Flex Option

With the flex option, we will plan for traditional, in-person classes. With the in-person model, schools can operate at full capacity with a variety of safety precautions in place. While we plan for this model, we understand we may need to transition to a hybrid or remote model due to COVID-19 conditions within our community. This decision would be made by the USD 470 Board of Education, the City-Cowley County Health Department, or state officials.

Option 2 – Remote Option

Families may choose to enroll students in a remote learning option. This model would require families to commit to a full semester of remote learning, and adhere to and log educational time requirements. This model will combine a strong online component (so the student will need quality, reliable internet access at home) as well as projects, teacher interaction, etc… To learn more about this option, visit We'll be adding more info soon.


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July 29, 2020

As you may know, KSHSAA’s Executive Board met yesterday and permitted fall activities to begin as scheduled. Ark City High School students participating in Fall activities will begin practice on August 17 and competitions will remain as scheduled. 

Our athletic/activities department has worked diligently to implement health and safety precautions during its Summer conditioning programs and will continue to do so as we enter the Fall season. Currently, students and coaches are answering COVID-19 screening questions, having temperatures taken, and sanitizing their hands prior to entering the weight room or gym. They are also wearing masks indoors when proper social distance can’t be maintained. 

Like many activities, the music department is planning to continue band and choir camps prior to the start of school. Extra precautions will be taken within these groups too including masks for vocalists, daily instrument sanitization, instrument bell covers, and social distancing. Plans for other sports and activities are still being developed and finalized. 

KSHSAA also approved a remote learning policy for the Fall 2020 semester. This policy allows for students who are enrolled in our district full-time to participate in athletics and activities EVEN IF they are enrolled in our remote learning option. You can read KSHSSA’s policy here:

In addition to being enrolled in USD 470 full-time, students will have to meet all other eligibility requirements. As in past years, homeschooled students and/or students who are enrolled in a Virtual School program will not be eligible for athletics or activities. Students who enroll in a school or program other than that offered by USD 470 and then come back, would be subject to transfer rules.

We look forward to having our students back and providing the same incredible opportunities in a safe and healthy manner! 

July 28, 2020 – 9:15 a.m.

Remote Learning is one option for USD 470 students this year. This remote learning option will be different from last spring's emergency efforts and will require students to have quality, reliable internet access at home. If you know at this time that you want to have your child(ren) begin the 2020-2021 school year in an at-home remote learning environment, please complete this form (Forma Española) at your earliest convenience and no later than 4:00 p.m. on August 5, 2020. Please complete a separate form for each of your children. For more information about remote learning, visit

July 28, 2020 – 7:30 a.m.

During last night’s USD 470 Board of Education meeting, school board members unanimously approved delaying school until Sept. 9, 2020. This delay, as recommended by USD 470 Superintendent Dr. Ron Ballard, will allow the district to finalize safety plans while also providing professional development opportunities for staff members. 

District leaders and board members received many comments from concerned employees, families, and community members. While comments varied, the desire for a safe and quality education was a common thread.

Understanding that every family may have different needs, the district is committed to providing an in-person learning model AND a remote/online option. Parents are encouraged to enroll their children now regardless of which option they prefer. Even if families are unsure, being enrolled allows the district to better plan and continue to communicate directly with the family via the SchoolMessenger communication system. 

USD 470’s Learning Together Task Force will continue to develop the district’s return to school plan. These plans will further outline the district’s learning models, operational protocols, and other important details. The district’s calendar committee will also meet to recommend a revised 2020-2021 school calendar to be approved by the school board.

July 27, 2020

We're planning for in-person learning AND a remote/online option or 2020-2021.

Interested in a remote/online learning option for your child this school year? Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

In the meantime, go ahead and enroll! Enrollment can be completed online, via PowerSchool, at your convenience. If you need assistance with the online enrollment process, you may go to your child’s school from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, July 27, and Tuesday, July 28. In the interest of safety, please plan to follow some health protocols prior to entering the building for enrollment. For more information and answers to common enrollment questions, you can visit or call your child’s school.

July 24, 2020

At this time, we are planning to provide an in-person learning model as well as a remote (online) learning model for students. Regardless of which option you feel is your family's best fit, please plan to enroll as soon as possible.

Enrollment can be completed online, via PowerSchool, at your convenience. If you need assistance with the online enrollment process, you may go to your child’s school from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, July 27, and Tuesday, July 28.

To help keep everyone safe, please plan to maintain a safe social distance, limit the number of people you bring with you (when possible), answer a few health screening questions, have your temperature taken, and wear a mask. We appreciate your patience and cooperation!

For more information and answers to common enrollment questions, you can visit or call your child’s school.

July 23, 2020

View frequently asked questions about the return to school here:

Return to School FAQ

Regreso a la Escuela: Preguntas Frecuentes

July 22, 2020

The Kansas State Board of Education voted to NOT affirm Governor Kelly’s Executive Order 20-58 that would have delayed the start of school until September 9. The vote was split 5-5. This decision means local school districts will determine when students return to class. The USD 470 Board of Education will review the district’s plan for returning to school at its meeting on July 27. In the meantime, we will keep you apprised of any updates.

July 21, 2020

We know there are many questions regarding the return to school and Governor Kelly's executive orders (to require masks at school and delay the start of school until September 9).

Our district leaders and the USD 470 Return to School Task Force continue to take guidance from state officials along with input from our staff, students, and parents to formulate a plan for the 2020-2021 school year. This plan will be reviewed by our school board at its July 27 meeting.

While we remain flexible in our plans, we anticipate there being both on-site and remote learning models available. Regardless of which option you feel is your family's best fit, you may enroll your child in USD 470 at this time.

Online enrollment remains available via PowerSchool. To accommodate families who need assistance with the enrollment process, each school will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 27 and 28. For additional enrollment information, visit

We will continue to focus on the wellbeing of our students and staff as we plan for the new year. As we have updates, we will share them via and SchoolMessenger, our mass notification tool. Thank you for your continued patience and support!

July 16, 2020 – 2:20 PM

Barring any changes, we will proceed with Summer School as planned. We will continue to practice our current precautions and monitor guidance from health and education officials.

July 16, 2020

As you may be aware, Governor Laura Kelly announced plans to issue an executive order delaying the start of school until September 9. We look forward to seeing details of the order on Monday but, in the meantime, we continue to work on plans for various school scenarios.

At this time, we are unsure if our current Summer School program will be affected. We should know later today and will update you as we have more information.

Thank you (again) for your patience and understanding. We know these are uncertain times but we appreciate your continued support.

July 13, 2020

We hope you are having an enjoyable summer and thank you again for all your patience and understanding these past few months. 

As we plan for the 2020-2021 school year, we would like to better understand your willingness and concerns surrounding your child(ren)'s return to school. We value your opinion and we understand that families may have different comfort levels at this time.

Please know we will continue to consider and plan accordingly for health and safety as additional guidelines and guidance are provided to us. We will provide you with updates on these considerations as more information becomes available to us from national, state, and local health and education officials. 

Please complete a separate form for each student in your family by 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 15. Thank you for your continued support during this time! 

USD 470 Return to School - Family Survey

USD 470 Retorno a la Escuela - Encuesta Familiar

July 10, 2020

Please know this is our planned timeline but we are continuing to receive guidance from health and education officials and our schedule may change. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we prepare for a successful school year. Check back for updates!

June 10, 2020

While back-to-school plans will ultimately depend on factors outside our control, at this point, USD 470 is preparing for school to start on August 19, 2020. We eagerly anticipate students joining us back in buildings but because we know guidelines are constantly evolving, we are planning for a variety of scenarios. We will keep you informed as plans unfold.

Enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year will be available starting July 6. As in past years, parents will enroll their students via PowerSchool. Assistance with online enrollment will be available in buildings after July 27. 

CLICK HERE to view the 2020-2021 calendar (subject to change). 

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