No state assessments; virtual board meetings

Kansas students won’t have to take state assessments this year and local boards will be able to hold virtual meetings.

Those were today’s major developments as Kansas schools prepare to re-start alternative education plans in the wake of the shutdown of schools by Gov. Laura Kelly to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

During a KASB video, Angie Stallbaumer, assistant executive director for legal services for KASB, and Brian Jordan, deputy director of KASB, provided a daily update on education developments. The video can be accessed here.

Earlier today, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that states could seek waivers to standardized testing if their schools were closed during COVID-19.

“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn,” DeVos said. “Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.”

Earlier this week, Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said it would be unlikely to give state assessments to students because of school closures and social distancing guidelines.

In addition, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released proposed regulations that he said are aimed at ensuring that meetings of governmental bodies remain open to the public while complying with social distancing requirements during the coronavirus outbreak.

Stallbaumer said the proposals would allow boards to conduct virtual meetings but that the public must be able to listen and communicate. A more detailed story on Schmidt’s proposal is here.

Boards will be holding meetings soon to go over continuous learning plans for their districts.

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