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September 16, 2020 - USD 234 COVID-19 District Update
Ted Hessong
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Today, USD 234 was notified from the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department of three positive cases of COVID-19 within the school district.  Below is information regarding USD 234’s quarantine and isolation cases and other information related to the positive cases.

Current COVID Numbers:

USD 234 currently has 2 students and one employee who have tested positive for COVID-19 and were in attendance at school.  One student is at the middle school and one student is at the high school.  The employee is at the high school.  As a result of these active cases being reported today several students and few staff were quarantined at the high school and middle school today.  These three active cases are in isolation.

Current Quarantine Numbers:

HS Students = 91 (89 quarantined from staff member or HS student today)

HS Staff = 2 (close contact of HS employee)

MS Students = 21 (19 from MS student who is positive)

EW Students = 2 (household contact)

EW Staff = 1 (household contact)

HS Football Team:

In much discussion today with the local health department and after the local health department called the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, it was determined that our whole HS football team needed to go into quarantine because football is considered a high risk activity and KDHE has decided if there is student/athlete who participates in a high risk activity and is positive for COVID-19 then the whole team and the team they competed against will need to be quarantined.  The coaches and managers of the team do not need to quarantine.  The high school has communicated with Independence, who was our opponent last Friday.

Communication:

We have learned a lot about communication today.  Phone lines were full at the high school so when parents called, they were getting a message saying the high school office was closed.  We are fixing the voicemail messaging for when our lines are full.  We understand there might have been some frustration on the part of our students and parents today who were notified of needing to be quarantine.  We are evaluating our communications for future cases to be sure we are handling these matters responsibly.  We do apologize if we caused you or your student any frustration.

Neighboring County:

The SEKMCHD is using the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s standard of a close contact being someone who is within six feet of person and who is positive for COVID-19 for ten minutes or more, with a mask will be a close contact and quarantined. Today USD 234 learned that the Miami County Health Department has in their procedures that students who are close contacts but are wearing masks while in class might not need to be quarantined.  The SEKMCHD is not using the same standard. 

We have learned from our experiences today and we are making corrections, and we will continue to do our best to keep our students and staff.  Thank you.

Respectfully,

Ted Hessong

Superintendent

USD 234 – Fort Scott Schools