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Read full Blue Valley district email

By 810 Varsity, 09/04/20, 8:30AM CDT


Check what was written about sports starting again and more

Below is the full email sent to the Blue Valley district (parents, teachers, etc) by Dr. Tonya Merrigan, Superintendent of schools. The intent of this posting is to keep everyone educated for best practices.


Blue Valley middle and high school families,

As a former high school counselor and administrator, the value of our activities and athletics programs is not lost on me. I know these voluntary programs play an important role in the total educational experience for our middle and high school students. I have said many times over the last several months that I want nothing more than for these programs to continue as soon as it was safe to do so.

Last month we shared that we would evaluate voluntary activities and athletics against the Kansas State Department of Education’s (“KSDE”) Navigating Change Gating Criteria in two weeks (more information about how this calculation is made is available online). When applying current data (as of the end of day Sept. 3) to the criteria, the gating level Blue Valley will be in for activities and athletics through Friday, Oct. 2 is YELLOW. 

  • All high school athletics and activities practices can resume on Saturday, Sept. 5, with modifications in place. This includes high-risk activities, like football and dance, as defined in Appendix C of the Kansas State Department of Education Navigating Change document.
  • Blue Valley administrators and coaches will work with our medical partners at The University of Kansas Health System to develop significant modifications for high-risk activities and athletics as called for in the Kansas State Department of Education’s Navigating Change guidance around the gating criteria.
  • Competitions may begin for all high school activities and athletics. Any student representing a Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) sponsored activity or sport shall meet all eligibility requirements prior to the first scheduled day of competition.
  • Competitions will be restricted to the Kansas City metro area.
  • At this time, middle school activities and athletics are postponed until in-person learning begins. We remain committed to exploring options for these programs to continue including options for alternate seasons.
  • Building administrators and coaches will share additional information about spectators/audience modifications, travel guidelines and live streaming of events.

Our staff has been participating in robust professional learning to prepare for the return of middle and high school students when learning remotely. Teachers are preparing relevant, student-centered and personalized learning experiences that will include synchronous, direct instruction from their teacher in addition to asynchronous classwork.

We want nothing more than to have our students back learning in-person, but know a successful transition between learning modes will require advance notice. As communicated on Aug. 21, middle school and high school students will be in distance learning through at least Friday, Oct. 2. The district is committed to reviewing the criteria every two weeks and giving two-week advance notice when transitioning between learning modes whenever possible.

To give our students the best opportunity to return to in-person learning or a hybrid model and continue to participate in activities and athletics we need your help. Here are some ways families, and students can help:

  • Adhere to evidence-based mitigation strategies including wearing masks/face coverings in public places, practicing good hand-washing hygiene and keeping social distance as much as possible.
  • Encourage students to follow mitigation strategies in social situations.
  • Stay home when sick and avoid contact with individuals who are sick.
  • Do not travel to “hot spots.”
  • Ensure your students are registering their attendance when they are learning from home. The fifth gating criteria, attendance, will begin to be included on Sept. 9. It will be increasingly important for all students to register their attendance regardless of their learning mode. Prior to the first day of school, building administrators will share more about how to register attendance.

As we head into the first week of school, I would remind families that while our community has varied opinions about returning to school and activities and athletics. I would ask that we come together as ONE TEAM to support each other, our school staff and most importantly our students. 

Dr. Tonya Merrigan
Superintendent of Schools

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