OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — One week into the school year, nearly 100 Shawnee Mission School District students are out of the classroom due to COVID-19.
"I know you're all tired of the pandemic, apparently pandemics aren’t fun for anyone, but I just encourage us to all stay vigilant," Sarah Jahnke, a SMSD parent, said during public comment at Monday night's SMSD Board of Education meeting.
Jahnke was the only parent who spoke on the topic of COVID-19 at the meeting, applauding the board for its decision in favor mask wearing in school.
"I want my kids at school, but just as much as everybody else does, I want them to have as much benefit as everyone else does," she said. "And what we know from the data is masks in school settings work it’s a mitigation strategy that works."
Almost half of the students who are considered positive or presumed positive COVID-19 cases are children in elementary school.
"I'm very concerned about the delta variant," Jahnke said. "I’m concerned about the infection rates."
Though remote learning isn't possible for those who become sick, they can access their assignments from an online portal.
If positive COVID-19 cases skyrocket, the district would work with the health department to determine how and when to close schools.
"Last year, when we did mask we were very successful in keeping COVID out of our schools," David Smith, a SMSD spokesperson, said. "And our hope is that especially now that we have the assistance of the vaccine, as more people get vaccinated, we'll be able to continue that."