March 13, 2020
Dear USD 247 Lancer Families,
We are providing this information to you in order to answer some of your questions about the COVID-19 Coronavirus and its impact on our school. As always, the health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority for the district. We wish to emphasize that the information on COVID-19 is changing daily and sometimes by the hour. Please understand that the information below is accurate as of today, but may change, as well as our decision making. Especially if the situation in the state of Kansas changes, or if a confirmed case is found in one of our communities. The district is committed to providing updates as frequently as possible.
Q: What if a student or staff member has traveled, or is planning to travel, outside the United States for spring break?
A: Any staff member or student who has traveled outside the United States since February 25, 2020 and until the travel ban is lifted should check-in with their local public health department to explain their travel history, and therein to follow the health department guidance regarding isolation or quarantine measures.
Q: What if a student has traveled, or plans to travel, to another part of the United States that has a high infection rate?
A: The individual should be encouraged to check with the local public health department. However, at this time, the CDC is not requiring quarantine for travel within the United States.
Q: What if a family member of a student has been put in self-quarantine; can the student still come to school?
A: At this time, the CDC is not requiring family members of self-quarantined individuals to also be quarantined, unless that individual is symptomatic. Families should refer to the local health department for guidance.
Q: Will USD 247 close schools if there are verified COVID cases in the community?
A: In this situation, neither the Department of Education nor Superintendent have the right to close school. School closures will be determined by the local county health department, the Kansas Department of Health, or the Governor. If the school district decides to close school without the recommendation of the department of health, all days missed short of the required 1116 hours required by the state would have to be made up prior to June 30, 2020.
Q: What happens if the health department does recommend closing schools for two or more weeks?
A: If the department of health does close a school, the Department of Education has empowered the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Randy Watson, to lower the required minimum number of hours on a case-by-case basis. How many hours Dr. Watson is willing to exempt will be determined by each situation at the time of closing. If the school is still below the required number of hours after he has granted exemptions, the school must add days to the school year and has until June 30 to meet the minimum requirement.
Q: What about sporting events, concerts, and other extracurricular activities?
A: At this time, Kansas State High School Athletic Association (KSHSAA) has made no changes to practices, sporting events or extracurricular activities. If the school is closed, then all sports and extra-curricular activities will be suspended as well. The board of education and administration will be looking at all travel outside of the district to determine attendance or not.
Q: Is the state still requiring the Kansas State Assessments?
A: At this time, there is no change to the requirements for the state assessments. If schools begin to be closed, then the decision as to whether to require the state assessments will be reexamined by the Kansas State Department of Education.
Q: What if I want to keep my child home from school voluntarily?
A: As of today, the district attendance policy is still in effect. The district does encourage families to keep students at home and seek medical care. Students who are ill or running a fever should remain home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of medication.
Q: What should I do if my student is feeling sick?
A: Students should be fever free for at least 24 hours prior to returning to school. If their fever breaks at 11:00 am, they cannot return to school at 8:00 am the next day. They could return at 11:00 am, but preferably they would stay home for another full day.
Note: Currently there are 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kansas and there are no cases confirmed in any Kansas school district. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment provides the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. You can access their site at http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/index.htm