OSWEGO — In March, the Oswego USD 504 Board of Education will consider which grade levels will attend school at the junior high.

The junior high usually consists of seventh and eighth grades, but in an effort to address the need for social distancing in the fall related to COVID-19 prevention, the board decided to temporarily relocate fifth and sixth grade students from the more crowded Neosho Heights Elementary School to the less crowded junior high wing at Oswego Junior Senior High School.

“It’s really worked out much better than anticipated,” Superintendent Douglas Beisel said. “Like a lot of schools in Southeast Kansas and across the state, we’ve had a declining enrollment, so our biggest, nicest, most modern building has a pretty low number of kids over there.”

To move at least one grade level over to the junior-senior high school permanently would be helpful in balancing out schools.

“The junior-senior high school has less than 130 kids over there grades seven to 12. It’s twice the size of Neosho Heights that has 200 kids over there,” Beisel said. “To move one grade level over, we could make better use of space and facilities. We’re trying to weigh those options and what’s best for our kids and families and try to make that the most workable option.”

The junior high addition to Oswego High School was completed in 2014, and students moved into the building in 2015. 

Middle school and high school students’ schedules are coordinated to help ensure they are kept separate.

“They have their own gym, their own restrooms. The one area they do intermingle as far as a space they share is the cafeteria, but they do have separate times for that when they eat,” Beisel said.

Right now, the board is just considering the possibility and broached the topic during a meeting on Monday.

“We’re going to have that discussion more at our March 8 meeting,” Beisel said.


In other business the board:

— Received an update on elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds. There is still no official application form, but the district hopes to have it by Thursday. The district was told the committee will be formed, and the earliest applications will be accepted and approved will be March 12. “We’ve been surveying our teachers to find out how they could best be served by this money,” Beisel said. ESSER funds were included in a coronavirus relief package approved by Congress.

— Extended the contract for Beisel to include the 2022-23 school year.

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