About the Criteria
The Board of Education adopted the Kansas State Department of Education Schools Gating Criteria, which is part of the state’s Navigating Change document for schools. The gating criteria is a tool to help districts determine when to implement different learning environments in response to COVID-19 activity within communities.
The Kansas Schools Gating Criteria was created with input from education, medical and public health professionals from across the state. The guidance is divided into four levels – green, yellow, orange, and red – with red indicating the need to implement the most restrictive learning environment.
The levels are – green (on-site); yellow (pre-K-5, on-site/hybrid, and sixth through 12th grade, hybrid); orange (pre-K-5, on-site/hybrid, and sixth through 12th grade, remote only); and red (remote only).
There are five sections within the gating criteria:
- Building Gating Criteria – student absenteeism based on building level average daily attendance compared to the previous year
- Community Gating Criteria – two-week county percent positive case rate (% positive tests / all tests performed
- Community Gating Criteria – two-week cumulative county incidence rate (# new cases / 100K over prior two weeks)
- Community Gating Criteria – trend in county incidence rate
- Community Gating Criteria – local / referring hospital capacity
Data is published by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment with the exception of student absenteeism (district data) and ICU bed capacity. For ICU bed capacity as of November 12, the committee is using the data published by Mid-America Regional Council as it more accurately reflects the reality of ICU bed capacity and available medical staff on the Kansas side of the metro area. COVID-19 data published by KDHE is updated fequently and may change week to week.
The Board approved a recommendation on December 21, 2020, to change how the metrics of the Kansas Schools Gating Criteria are scored. Previously, the scores of the metrics were averaged and rounded to the nearest whole number to determine the recommended color category.
In acknowledgement of the concerns surrounding the social-emotional well-being of students, the metrics will now be totaled using a scale to determine the recommended color category of the gating criteria. This shifts the color categories down two points for recognition of social-emotional needs. The use of the scoring method will also make the application of weightings easier to understand if adopted in the near future.
UPDATE: Safety/Risk-Based Modifier, January 12, 2021
Dr. Frank Harwood, Superintendent of Schools, recommended to the Board of Education to apply a safety/risk-based modifier to the score of the Kansas Schools Gating Criteria before determining the final color category. Data shows that schools can accommodate a higher level of community spread of the virus due, in part, to the many mitigation protocols in place. The modifier will consider the percentage of student and staff quarantines and isolations by indicating lower or higher prevalence of COVID-19 among students and staff. Although the spread of the virus is low at school, an increase in quarantines and isolations causes significant disruptions to learning.
The Board of Education approved application of the new safety/risk-based modifier based on the historical data. The table below provides details of how the modifier is applied.
Percentage of Weekly Total Quarantines and Isolations: Students and Staff
Change Applied to the Kansas Schools Gating Criteria Score
0 to 2.0%
Subtract 2 points
2.1% to 3.0%
Subtract 1 point
3.1% to 4.9%
5.0% to 6.9%
Add 1 point
7% and above
Add 2 points
Impact of the Modifier
In this example, the most recent weekly total for quarantines and isolations for students and staff is 198. Based on the total number of on-site students and staff, the percentage for the example is at 2.84%. The result subtracts one point from the Kansas Schools Gating Criteria (KSGC) score.