Shawnee Co. school districts review plans in light of COVID-19 surge

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 8:29 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee County schools are reviewing their options in light the county’s Community Transmission Scorecard landing in the “uncontrolled” zone for a second straight week.

Moments after the Shawnee Co. Health Dept. released the report Thursday, USD 501 Topeka Public Schools announced it would move to remote learning, effective Monday, Nov. 16. Other districts, however, were continuing to review their data.

USD 345 Seaman’s Mathes Early Learning Center went remote for its preschoolers Thursday and Friday due to lack of staff. They planned to review the situation over the weekend, and decide if students would return Monday.

USD 345 currently has 19 employees and 112 students on quarantine, with four active COVID-19 cases among staff, nine among students. Another 18 students and staff have recovered.

A district spokesperson said officials are reviewing any potential changes to winter sports in light of increasing virus cases around the county. They could have an update as soon as Friday.

USD 437 Auburn-Washburn plans no changes for now. However, a note to parents Thursday from superintendent Dr. Scott McWilliams advised families to have a plan ready in case they need to move to remove learning.

According to the note, 95 district employees - 8.78 percent of total staff - were quarantined Thursday. The district also had 293 students quarantine, which is 4.88 percent of their total. Still, McWilliams says the percentage of student absences has been lower than last year.

So far this school year, USD437 has had 38 students and 28 employees test positive for COVID-19.

McWilliams says district officials will review information daily, and determine whether any changes in learning or activities are necessary.

Hayden High School’s President Shelly Buhler said they, too, continue reviewing information in deciding what learning environment to utilize next week.

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