Mayor Lucas closes schools, disallows gatherings of more than 10 in KCMO

Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 19:51:51-04

Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Monday that all schools — public, private, charter and parochial — with students from Kansas City, Missouri, will close no later than March 18 and remain closed until “the end of the emergency notice.”

The mayor’s office clarified to 41 Action News that means all schools will be out until at least April 1, pending further guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I am constantly collaborating with regional governments to ensure consistency and speed in our response efforts,” Lucas said in a statement from his office. “I will continue working round-the-clock with our partners on all levels of government to identify relief measures for everyone impacted and resolve this situation as quickly as possible, while continuing to ensure the well-being of the greater public.”

Lucas said the decision was made in consultation with Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Dr. Erica Carney and KCMO Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer and “with the support of superintendents from all 14 school districts and other education leaders that educate Kansas City students,” according to a release from KCMO.

Kansas City Public Schools, Belton, Blue Springs, Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Independence, Kearney, Lee’s Summit, Liberty, North Kansas City, Park Hill, Platte County, Raytown and Smithville are the area districts that service parts of KCMO.

KCPS, Blue Springs, Liberty, Hickman Mills and North Kansas City already have announced that school will be closed through at least April 3.

The Fort Osage and Excelsior Springs districts are among those who canceled classes through at least April 3.

Lucas also updated his State of Emergency proclamation “to disallow any gathering or events with more than 10 attendees” in accordance with the latest CDC guidance announced earlier Monday by the Trump administration.

Lucas also issued guidance for businesses, including restaurants, directing them to “serve customers via drive-thru, pickup or delivery.”

He also said businesses should identify non-essential employees and allow them to work from home.

Lucas also barred visits to nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care facilities.

Additionally, if someone in a household tests positive for COVID-19, all members of that household are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The self-quarantine guidelines are encouraged for households where any person exhibits signs of COVID-19, including a fever or dry cough or shortness of breath.

“I care first and foremost about the health and safety of all Kansas City residents, and this decision was not made lightly,” Lucas said in a statement. “We understand these drastic measures will have unprecedented impacts on our local businesses and working families and recognize that this is one of the most challenging periods our city and nation has ever faced. I know for certain that our residents will band together during this period of crisis to offer assistance and support to each other.”

These measures will be re-evaluated and further guidance will be issued before April 1, which is the current end of the citywide State of Emergency.