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Parents frustrated with LPS pandemic procedure changes

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 9:28 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Since June, the Lincoln Public Schools website has outlined pandemic procedures saying if the COVID-19 Risk Dial were Red (Severe), the school would go 100% remote. On Wednesday, 10/11 NOW received messages from parents saying that wasn’t the case anymore.

Now, on LPS’s Pandemic Procedures plan, it states they’ll work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

“If the Lincoln-Lancaster County risk status moves to Red – Severe, Lincoln Public Schools will work collaboratively with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to implement plans and protocols that address the areas of concern in our community and schools. We will follow recommendations from the health department on how schools can respond effectively and allow teaching and learning to continue while reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Many said they were left in the dark.

10/11 NOW heard from parents, teachers, and other LPS employees - all of them said they had no idea this was coming.

They said this was a big enough change that they should’ve been told before the website was updated.

“The fact that they didn’t tell us leads to a little loss in confidence that they’re keeping the safety of students and teachers at the foremost of their thought,” said LPS parent Jared Larkin.

But LPS said it did tell parents, one month ago.

Video shows Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel at the September 22 LPS School Board meeting discussing what happens if the dial goes red.

“We will work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to determine if, in fact, our schools are the safest place," Dr. Joels aid. “You know, maybe there is an argument to continue to have school, but we will seek guidance from them.”

A bus driver for the district who has kids in LPS said they heard nothing about this, adding the district can’t expect all parents to have time to watch the board meetings.

“We have parents who are unable to access the meetings online, to go back and watch those meetings, and we have parents who are unable to understand them without a translator,” said LPS bus driver and parent, Danae Contino.

The district said they didn’t want to send a letter out to parents about the change and confuse them, since the Risk Dial is currently in Elevated Orange.

“And the excuse of, ‘We didn’t want to confuse families...' No, that’s what you’re doing. The quickest way to avoid confusion is to be clear and transparent,” said LPS parent, Maggie Thompson.

LPS said it will clarify the information for families in its Friday weekly update.

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