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Return to School: FAQ

General Information

School starts on September 9, 2020. The USD 470 School Board approved the Hybrid Model for the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year (through October 29). View the 2020-2021 calendar.

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:

The governor’s executive order for health and safety (20-59) requires masks to be worn by all students when adequate social distance can’t be maintained, temperature checks for anyone entering the building, and hourly handwashing/sanitizing. Advanced disinfectant systems have been purchased and are already in use in school buildings and buses.

Anyone who has a temperature of over 100.4 degrees is asked to wait in a designated area and will be rechecked after five minutes. If their body temperature is still high - parents/guardians will be contacted to pick up the student. No person (employee or student) with a temperature will be permitted to spend a day in the classroom.

Our district plan could change slightly, but KSDE Navigating Change guidelines state the following: A person is considered a case of COVID-19 disease if they have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Based on what we currently know, a case is considered infectious two days prior to the onset of symptoms through at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. For cases that do not have symptoms, the infectious period is considered as 2 days prior to the date the sample was collected through a minimum of 10 days from the date the sample was collected. Cases must remain in isolation until they have met the criteria for release from isolation set by KDHE. Learn more here:

The Governor’s Executive Order 20-59 indicates masks should be worn by all staff members, students, and visitors. 

Yes. The City-Cowley County Health Department has indicated it will waive some social distancing rules for bus riding but may still require children to be seated one to a seat or ‘every other seat’ and generally reduce bus capacity by one-third.

Yes, as long as state/local guidelines allow. 

KSHSAA’s Executive Board has 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! 

Yes, but learning designs and instruction could change. We may offer instruction in open areas or outside as weather permits. We plan to use covers for instruments and sanitize them often.

Some elective courses may not be available for students enrolled in our remote learning program, however, we fully anticipate co-curricular activities such as band, orchestra, and choir to be offered. 

We are sensitive to the challenges each family faces and will make every effort to accommodate that request. Parents will have the opportunity to share their preferences with us. 

We anticipate it will be a combination. The Kansas State Board of Education will require documentation and record-keeping.

We will make every effort to accommodate these needs and have worked to secure materials and electronic programs in multiple languages.

At this time, full Remote Learning is limited to those students who have quality internet at their homes. Hybrid learning is a blended learning model and is NOT entirely online. Learning is blended to include online AND more traditional tasks and projects that can be done without internet access. Hotspots are available at various sites and we continue to look for ways to bring additional connectivity to our families. That being said, we are working with vendors and governmental agencies to seek a way to provide internet access to all.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Kansas Special Education for Exceptional Children Act require school districts to provide special education and related services to students with exceptionalities. The Kansas State Department of Education’s (KSDE) Special Education and Title Services (SETS) team created guidance information for both teachers and parents. This is a rapidly changing situation and both requirements and regulations may change.

Students will continue to receive services - it just may look a little different. Each case will be handled individually and parents will be contacted soon to discuss plans.



Due to health and safety concerns, we are currently limiting visitors, and appointments are recommended. For more details, visit


The start of school has been delayed until September 9, 2020. A revised calendar is available at

We will adhere to any guidelines/regulations that come from local/state health officials. In its Navigating Change guidelines, KSDE recommends referring questions to the City-Cowley County Health department or your regular healthcare provider. You can learn more about our plans here:

Yes, but backpack nights may look different than in past years. Large gatherings likely will not be permitted, so the schedule, design, and layout of each event may be changed to accommodate smaller group sizes.

Yes. 9th Grade Orientation is planned for August 28. Learn more here:

The middle school is currently planning multiple open house events – more info to come.


Health officials generally make these decisions. We work closely with County Health to stay informed and share all necessary information.  

We know the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a number of concerns. We are working to keep students and staff as safe as possible while preparing for possible interruptions this year. We regret the challenges that adjustments in schedules and calendars pose for families and will do all we can to safely assist. Each school has an internet hotspot that be can be accessed from the parking lot. It's also important to remember, hybrid learning is NOT all online. Learning is blended to include online and more traditional tasks and projects.

While it is true enrollment determines school funding, the state has long understood that unusual things can happen and they have allowed districts to use enrollment numbers from the highest of three years or the average of three years (whichever is highest) so that districts are not penalized during unexpected dips in enrollment.

Funds will continue to be used as they have in the past. Teachers will teach a full contract and facilities will still continue to be open regular hours. Additional funding from CARES and SPARK funds (COVID-19 relief funds) are being used to enhance technology, sanitation equipment/supplies, hygiene services, PPE, and professional development for all staff members.

At this time, full Remote Learning is limited to those students who have quality internet at their homes. Hybrid learning is a blended learning model and is NOT entirely online. Learning is blended to include online AND more traditional tasks and projects that can be done without internet access. Hotspots are available at various sites and we continue to look for ways to bring additional connectivity to our families. That being said, we are working with vendors and governmental agencies to seek a way to provide internet access to all.

Hybrid (blended) Learning will be individualized to a greater degree than in previous years.  Digital platforms (including MobyMax, Kahn Academy, and Edgenuity, among others) will allow teachers to identify learning gaps and personalize instruction for each student rather than addressing a whole group of students in the same way. Some learning is self-directed and may require guidance in time management. This will be addressed by teachers with suggestions for both students and parents. Interestingly, post-secondary education and/or most workplace training involves digital learning. This is an opportunity to prepare students to prepare for their futures. We know things will be forever changing and adaptability and continuous learning are essential for future success.

We do not want or plan to remain in the Hybrid Model. Our goal is to spend 35 days easing back into school and creating the best possible situation so we are ready to handle whatever this year may send our way. Our hope is that in 35 days, we are well-equipped to bring everyone back together, face-to-face, but IF challenges come and COVID-19 conditions warrant a group of students to be home for a couple of weeks, there will be a plan in place for smooth, seamless transitions. There will no doubt be cases in our community this year and by taking the time to spend with smaller numbers of students early on, we will be prepared to continue learning during quarantines and/or closures without missing a beat. We will do our best to model the practices that limit the spread (masks, social distancing, and good hygiene) so we can remain fully functional.

Yes! USD 470 will adhere to the Kansas Curricular Standards and the recently-released Navigating Change Competencies. The Kansas Standards have always guided learning in USD 470, and the Navigating Change Competencies were developed in response to the COVID-19 school closures in March of 2020 that sent students home for several weeks. These competencies allow educators to focus on what students should know and be able to do in any curricular area. To meet these Competencies, the following platforms will be used: Seesaw and GoogleClassroom will lead the way in communicating with students and families, while MobyMax (K-8) and Edgenuity (6-12) will be the course-specific resource for middle and high school students. These interactive platforms will allow students to work in multiple ways to meet the Competencies. Also, watch for new offerings that involve Flip Grid, Screencastify...and many more! Parents who would like to become more familiar with these platforms will be invited to Family Learning Nights at various sites.

Yes. Our goal is to provide rigorous academic lessons and activities every school day in order to progress successfully regardless of location or format. Accountability is in place to make sure every student experiences all opportunities presented to them. While working from home, students will be guided by time suggestions that may help with time management as we learn together the best practices to guide distance learning. Teachers will provide specific guidance - and documentation forms - for those days remote learning occurs.  

Yes, as much as possible. A preference survey will be issued to parents via PowerSchool that will guide us on these matters. The first priority will be given to parents who specify they wish to keep sibling groups together OR separate. (Yes, for some it works best for siblings to attend on different days.) Scheduling is challenging at times due to restrictions created by shared staffing and facility limitations but our goal is to meet the needs of families to the greatest extent possible.

There are distinct differences between classroom and sports activities and settings. While many sports are in open-air or large gymnasium settings where social distancing is possible and incidental contact does not allow for a great amount of concentrated exposure,  classrooms are small enclosed spaces with limited open-air opportunities and there is a significant opportunity for students to be less than 6’ apart for long periods of time. Unfortunately, social distancing (6’ separation) is not possible in most classrooms containing more than 12 students. We are aware cases of the virus could be identified in sports settings as well, and we will do our best to provide extra sanitation and safety protocols that will limit the transmission of the virus should it be present. As a note, in order to provide safe classroom settings, gymnasiums and auditoriums are being used for some classes when those spaces are available. With many classrooms at every attendance center, it is not possible for all classes to be moved to these spaces. Outdoor areas will also be used as learning spaces when conditions permit.

We continue to refine food service procedures. Tables and students will be distanced to the greatest extent possible and additional lunch periods will be implemented at most sites to reduce the number of students in a cafeteria or gym at one time. Greater numbers of grab-and-go options will be offered and breakfasts may be consumed in classrooms. Chartwells has many new approaches to safely providing quality, tasty meals.

Meals will also be available to students who are learning at home due to the Hybrid Model or the Remote Learning Model.

Our specialized classes require an extra effort to bring a quality experience to all and instructors are continuing to refine the best ways to do this.  All classes - even performance-based classes - involve learning that is not “hands-on”....stay tuned for more!

Yes. Students who are attending school 100% remotely AND students who are participating in the Hybrid Model will each be issued a district device to use while at school and while at home.