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Spring Hill School District an outlier in COVID-19 cases as parents opt out of mask mandate

JCDHE shares graph showing high incidence rates
Spring Hill School District
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Posted at 8:49 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-25 13:12:48-04

SPRING HILL, Kan.  — Some parents who live in Spring Hill are upset about the school board’s policy allowing for parents to opt their kids out of wearing a mask.

One of those is Heather Hardman, mother of a 2nd grader in the district.

"When I drop him off every morning, truly I do feel, I question it, I wonder whether or not it’s safe for him, and that’s a sad place to be," Hardman said.

Hardman says her son has asthma and doesn't want him to take that risk of catching the virus every single school day.

"Every time he gets a runny nose, I freak out," Hardman said.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment released a chart showing the weekly incidence rate for the schools in the county, and Spring Hill peaks at 16% before dipping down with the other school districts in the 3-4% range.

"I wasn’t shocked at all to see that ours was so much higher," Hardman said.

The Spring Hill School District is the only district in the county with this kind of opt-out form, only needing a parent’s signature. So far, there have been more than 400 filled out.

"They should be used rarely, and it’s just a free for all," Hardman said. "Basically, if you don’t want your kids to wear a mask, you just sign one of those papers."

The district updated its COVID-19 dashboard on Friday showing eight students and two staff members with confirmed positive cases this past week. Much lower than the 61 cases at the beginning of the month.

Still, Hardman believes there's no such thing as being too safe to protect kids from getting sick.

"Every day that we come home and he’s not sick, we’re lucky," Hardman said.

The district told KSHB 41 News as of right now the only action item the school board has scheduled related to COVID-19 is a vote to approve the addition of face mask exemption forms to the district dashboard.