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Millard high schools scaling back attendance to 50%

At a Millard Public Schools board meeting on Monday, July 6, 2020, to discuss plans to reopen schools in the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks were a hot topic.
At a Millard Public Schools board meeting on Monday, July 6, 2020, to discuss plans to reopen schools in the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks were a hot topic.(Lileana Pearson / WOWT)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 12:54 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Millard Public Schools district is reducing the numbers of students attending in-person classes for the next two weeks, the district said Thursday.

In a letter sent to families Thursday morning, Superintendent Jim Sutfin said the high schools will go to a 50% in-person attendance model starting Monday and concluding Friday, Aug. 28. During that time, high school students in the district will attend school every day, but will be alternating in-person and remote-learning according to a schedule determined by the last name of the student.

According to a separate letter sent out to Millard North families, students with last names starting with A-K will attend class in person on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week and participate in remote-learning on Tuesday and Thursday; students with last names starting with L-Z would be the opposite. During the week of Aug. 24, that flips: students with last names starting with A-K attend school remotely on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and attend in person on Tuesday and Thursday; with students L-Z going to school in person on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and remotely on Tuesday and Thursday.

“I am sorry that I have to make this decision. Nobody wants our students in school at 100% more than I do,” Sutfin said in his letter. “I understand the many benefits of in-person learning and the sense of community that our high school students feel when they are together.”

The superintendent also encouraged families to wear masks to help contain community spread.

“I also am extremely concerned about the current level of community spread and again ask for your help. Our students and community can slow down the spread by wearing masks outside of the home, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings,” he said.

He also offered a plea to the community to take appropriate precautions.

“The only way we can stop the disruption to your child’s education is to come together as a community to slow down the spread. If we do that, we will reduce close contact exposure at school,” he said.

The announcement followed Wednesday’s news about two cases at an elementary school in the district. MPS reported Reagan Elementary School had two confirmed cases of COVID-19, and that the school was being cleaned and sanitized “as we will always do when we receive a report of a positive case.”

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