With COVID-19 cases climbing in the region, and a majority of Newton USD 373 students attending classes either online or in a hybrid mode, traditional field trips are out of the question.

However, collaboration between the Newton, Clearwater and Buhler school districts has created a one-of-a-kind learning experience for students in Kansas.

On Friday, Nov. 20, students will be able to go on a virtual field trip where they will have the chance to connect with experts from such organizations as NASA, NASA STEM, the Cosmosphere and the Virginia Museum of Science.

"Anytime that we can bring the real world into our classrooms, our students win," said Megan Nagel, tech integration/professional learning specialist for Newton schools. "The purpose of education is to create opportunities for students to learn and grow. We believe that providing students with virtual experiences allows them not only to learn from scientists who grew up in our region but those from a national level, this will open doors to innovation. Our goal is to empower and inspire learners."

Topics for the virtual field trip will include rocket science, living and working in space, and exploring the solar system. Creators saw this as a way to energize students during these unprecedented times.

"Kyle McClure, the director of innovation for Buhler Public Schools, reached out and said, ‘This year has been brutal. I am ready to do something innovative and fun. Are you in?’ " Nagel said.

The day is made up of 45-minute sessions at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. At each time, there will be three different sessions, one for elementary students, one for middle-school students and one for high-school students. The sessions will be streamed on YouTube.

For more information and links to the session, individuals may go to https://sites.google.com/usd313.org/out-of-this-world-trip/home.