A student’s success with online learning is a mixed bag, depending on a student’s grade level, their own habits and whether there is accountability and help from parents and teachers.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in Jackson County, local schools are weighing their options for letting students back into school buildings safely. Four districts that have returned to the classroom are weighing turning to online learning exclusively. While teachers and parents argue it’s best for students to learn in the classroom, both sides can’t help but worry about the risk of transmitting the virus.

Kansas City Public Schools and Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools are among the last schools that are continuing online learning for all their students. Kansas City Public Schools welcomed back 200 special education students for in-person learning Nov. 9, but the district does not have an exact date for bringing back all students. The district said they will continue to analyze COVID-19 data and communicating possible return to hybrid learning in two-week increments.

Kansas City Kansas Public Schools plans to begin hybrid classes for all students Jan. 2021.

Schools in Independence and North Kansas City began the school year hybrid for older students and completely in-person for younger students, but allowed students to learn completely online if they chose to.

Lee’s Summit School District, which began the school year virtual for Grades 4 through 12, began hybrid classes Oct. 5.


- Help Students find their own motivation. Motivating a child is one area where parents are (ideally) better than any teacher could be. The idea here is to help them ‘want to’ learn without punishing them psychologically or making all motivation external and independent from the actual value of the knowledge being gleaned.

- Provide your child a productive learning environment. Designate a quiet, calm work station, such as their own corner in a shared space. This can help with the transition to “learning mode.” Identify another separate area for breaks or downtime.

- Make pens, pencils, a notebook, or scrap paper available right at their fingertips to avoid the disruption of getting up and looking for them.

- Provide headphones or earbuds to students, if accessible. This can help block out background noise and assist with concentration

Jazzlyn Johnson is a Report for America corps member based at The Community Voice covering Kansas City’s African-American community.

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