KCPS deals with 200+ quarantines 2 weeks after start of new school year

KCPS COVID19 response coordinator
Posted at 10:08 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 23:21:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 250 students and staff within Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools are quarantined, according to the district's COVID-19 dashboard.

"Anything that's happening in the community is going to be reflected in the school," Sara Williams, KCPS' COVID-19 response coordinator, said during a KCPS Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.

A majority of the 266 people are in pre-kindergarten; elementary; and kindergarten through eighth grade school buildings.

The quarantines come on the heels of the KCMO Health Department seeing a 1,100% increase of children infected with COVID-19 since June.

"We're not looking at the option of closing schools, but it's going to depend on that pandemic protocol," Williams said. "There's certain percentages and numbers as to the number of cases in a classroom or in a building that would cause us to look."

In the meantime, the district is making sure students don't miss out on instruction if they're out of the classroom.

"We're looking at quarantine liaison teachers, which will assign students that are in quarantine to a grade-appropriate level virtual academy, and the student will receive the daily lessons," Dr. Mark Bedell, KCPS superintendent said during the meeting.

The district is being as proactive as it can, according to Bedell, but needs cooperation from the community, especially when it comes to vaccinations.

The district was the first in the state to require staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

So far, only 42% of the staff is fully vaccinated. Staff members who aren't vaccinated by the end of the month will be required to do weekly testing.

The goal is to have 80% of staff fully vaccinated by Halloween.