Local district answers how they will respond to a COVID-19 case in school

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 6:33 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - As district’s roll out reopening plans, one major question is how will they respond to a positive case of COVID-19 in a school.

USD 437 Director of Communications, Martin Weishaar said, “The Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Education have both been great resources for us in planning our response.”

Last week Auburn-Washburn released their ‘Return to School Plan’ including a section that detailed what parents, students and staff could expect if a positive case enters a school building.

“If we were to have a positive case among students and staff we would of course isolate them,” Weishaar said, “We would begin contact tracing to see who was in close contact, then we would work with Shawnee County Health Department to determine what kind of notifications and what kind of self-quarantine would need to take place.”

He said they will then consider two options: close the school for a few days, or block off where the infected person was until those areas can be cleaned.

“We have not worked through what the implementation of that kind of action would actually encompass, but we just want to be clear that if we have an exposure we will try to stop that as quickly as possible, clean the affected area and get the school reopened as quickly as possible,” Weishaar said.

The district is also taking other actions to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

Weishaar said, “Our hope and our goal is that if we follow our distancing and mask requirements that any instances of positive COVID-19 will be minimized because if you’re masked and distanced the risk is much lower.”

He encourages parents to work with the district as they navigate this new territory together.

“Our superintendent has expressed that our goals are safety and learning,” he continued saying, “We are very excited and anxious to get students back into the school’s and we’re focused on doing it safely and providing meaningful learning when we do that.”

You can find USD 437′s full reopening plan here.

Topeka Public School’s, Seaman Public School’s and Shawnee Heights Public School’s have also laid out their plans for dealing with a positive case.

Here are links to those district’s plans: USD 501, USD 345, and USD 450.

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