From school fees to bus routes – Here’s what you need to know about Blue Valley this year

Blue Valley students are back in classes starting, Wednesday, Aug. 17. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Students in the Blue Valley School District began returning to school for a new year Wednesday.

As the back to school activities ramp up, the Post put together a guide for families to help navigate the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.

No masking policy and other COVID-19 mitigation measures

File photo.

Masking still remains entirely optional in Blue Valley schools, as the district currently has no COVID-19 mask policy.

  • Per the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment guidance, students with COVID-19 are expected to isolate for five days from the date of the positive test result or beginning of symptoms.
  • Students or staff who are symptom-free may return to school wearing a mask for days 6-10.
  • Because the health department is no longer issuing quarantine recommendations based on close contacts, “test to stay” is no longer necessary to return to school.
  • The district revoked its masking policy in April after the Blue Valley school board voted to rescind masking measures tied to a school building’s absenteeism due to illness.

New flexible learning spaces

Above, a flexible learning space at Cedar Hills Elementary. Photo via Blue Valley Twitter.

Seven Blue Valley elementary schools received a makeover over the summer with new flexible learning spaces, thanks to the $186.8 million bond issue voters approved in January 2020.

  • Flexible learning environments are open, adaptable classrooms that allow students the freedom to learn in spaces that can easily be manipulated to enhance lessons.
  • As part of these new projects, the elementary schools now have classrooms with collapsible walls, rollable tables and open work spaces.
  • The Blue Valley elementary schools that received flexible learning environments are:
    • Leawood Elementary
    • Valley Park Elementary
    • Indian Valley Elementary
    • Oak Hill Elementary
    • Lakewood Elementary
    • Liberty View Elementary
    • Stilwell Elementary
  • Flexible learning spaces are coming to two elementary schools — Wolf Springs Elementary and Timber Creek Elementary — in 2023.

Changes to bus services

File photo.

Beginning this school year, Blue Valley will no longer provide bus services for middle and high school students who live less than 1.5 miles from their home school.

  • With the new policy, elementary students within that 1.5-mile distance are not affected and can still use Blue Valley’s bus service.
  • By not offering transportation to middle and high school students, 9 to 10 routes have been removed from the district’s daily bus schedule, eliminating transportation for an estimated 515 students.
  • The move comes at a time in which schools in Johnson County, and across the nation, have struggled to cope with a shortage of bus drivers since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to school shutdowns.
  • Last school year, the district has faced a daily average of 15 bus routes without a driver due to staff absences, said Blue Valley director of business operations Jason Gillam. In those instances, drivers would pick up multiple routes, resulting in tardiness for students at the beginning of the school day and longer drive times to return home.

Required fees

Local 2nd through 8th graders at the Blue Valley Tigers’ youth football camp. Photo via Blue Valley Facebook.

Below is a look into the fees parents must pay if they have a student attending a Blue Valley school this year.

  • A learning resource fee of $115 per student primarily covers costs of materials and supplies that support educational initiatives in the classroom.
  • For middle and high school students, an activity programming fee is collected at a rate of $25 for sixth grade; $55 for seventh grade; $90 for eighth grade; and $135 for ninth-12th grades.
  • The activities fee can be waived, upon request, to any student who did not participate in any activities, including through the Kansas State High School Activities Association, school clubs or any other non-required activities offered at the school.
  • The district also charges $370 per family for transportation services this school year.