The deconstruction of the "old" Panther Stadium continued on Monday, Dec. 21. The crews of Pearson Construction took down the home bleachers after removing the concession stands three days earlier. The project will include, among other items, a brand-new grandstand with entry on both sides and a press box. It'll also feature new concession stands and entry points to the stadium. A guaranteed maximum price of $7,377,704 was set for the project in October. The "new" Panther Stadium is set to open on Aug. 27, 2021.
The Derby Board of Education approved changes to the district’s gating criteria chart at its Dec. 14 meeting, including one that keeps elementary schools in person or hybrid even when the district is operating in the “red” column.
Under the revised criteria, early childhood through fifth grade will no longer be online while the district is in the “red.” The schools will operate in person, but the district can move specific schools to a hybrid setup at the gating committee’s discretion.
“You could have a school that’s hybrid,” Superintendent Heather Bohaty said. “But the intent with this chart is they would run either in person or hybrid in most circumstances.”
Parents can still choose to keep their students fully online if they’d like, as they’ve been able to do since the beginning of the school year.
The new criteria go into effect for the next gating committee meeting at 1 p.m. Dec. 30, when the district will determine modes of learning for the two weeks after winter break.
All Derby schools will still be fully online through Jan 1.
Bohaty requested the BOE revise the gating criteria chart after Kansas state education officials issued guidance that elementary students should be learning in person, regardless of community COVID-19 spread.
“There’s ever-changing information,” Bohaty said. “[KSDE has] shared the research that there’s been a low transmission rate, if you want to say, with kids at that level – meaning elementary-aged.”
“Based on that information, the Kansas State Department of Education acknowledged that to put that change into place.”
The updated criteria still allow the district to move schools to remote learning on a case-by-case basis. Staffing and student absenteeism may impact the gating criteria at a certain school.
“If for some reason we had a large breakout or something like that, individual decisions could be made based on a particular school,” Bohaty said.
The new criteria will also fully align the district’s spectator guidelines with KSHSAA, clearing the way to allow up to two guardians per athlete at winter sporting events.
Also under the new criteria, playgrounds will be open with proper safety guidelines when the district is in the “red” and limited visitors will be allowed at school offices by appointment. Both playgrounds and school offices previously were closed in the red stage of the gating criteria chart.
Bohaty said the criteria leave flexibility for the district to close playgrounds in coordination with the city if necessary.
The BOE voted 5-2 to approve the revised gating criteria chart, with board members Pamela Doyle and Robin Folkerts opposed.
Doyle expressed concerns that some elementary school classrooms are too full to accommodate social distancing.
“Are we going to be able to do anything, then, about classrooms where social distancing isn’t possible?” Doyle asked. “Those classrooms that have 29 students.”
Bohaty acknowledged that some classes face challenges in trying to stay spread out but reiterated that a particular school could move hybrid or online if it becomes unsafe.
The BOE also approved the following calendar for the remaining gating committee meetings, which will take place at 1 p.m. approximately every two weeks.