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CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND USD 231


Updated: April 14, 2020 at 02:02 p.m.


Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act


UPDATE - April 14, 2020 - 02:02 p.m.

If you or a family member are in need of additional resources, please review this guide created by the USD 231 Counseling Department.

https://5il.co/f3j3


UPDATE - April 06, 2020 - 11:17 a.m.

Dear USD 231 Families,

We are writing to let you know that the second week of continuous learning materials are now available for each grade level and content area. These materials can be found HERE.

If you require technical support, our IT team is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. To access this support, please submit a support ticket by emailing helpdesk@usd231.com.

Teachers and administrators are available to families via email. These email addresses can be found by visiting the building website. Menu > Staff.

Thank you for your continued understanding, patience, and support.


UPDATE - April 05, 2020 - 01:40 p.m.

Superintendent Pam Stranathan and USD 231 recognize the disappointment faced by our seniors and their families over the many special events canceled this Spring due to COVID-19.

As a token of appreciation and recognition for the class of 2020, Mrs. Stranathan personally reached out to PEC sports, a locally owned business, and is partnering with them to provide every senior a personalized yard sign that will include a picture and graduation year. The cost of the yard signs will be covered by the school district.

Please know the district will continue to plan for events as allowed by the state and local health department; however, we fully understand these types of activities will never replace rites of passage such as prom, graduation, and many others. USD 231 is very proud of each and every one of our seniors!

Please visit HERE for the full story.


UPDATE - April 02, 2020 - 08:34 a.m.

A Frequently Asked Questions document has been posted HERE and answers some of your most pressing questions. Please check this document often as it will be updated as new information is shared.


UPDATE - April 01, 2020 - 12:47 p.m.

As mandated by the State of Kansas and Johnson County, all district playgrounds, fields, tracks and courts are closed. 
We appreciate your help in working together for the safety of the community!


UPDATE - March 30, 2020 - 07:15 a.m.

The USD 231 Continuous Learning committee, made up of teachers and district administrators, continued work through the weekend to ensure our plan was ready for release today, March 30, as recommended by the Kansas State Department of Education. Please keep an eye on your email inbox for details later today.


UPDATE - March 26, 2020 - 05:46 a.m.

Continuous Learning Plan Update

Purpose

The purpose of USD 231's Continuous Learning Plan (CLP) is to ensure students have opportunities to learn through experiences that focus on key concepts, knowledge, and skills. These opportunities emphasize interaction and creativity and involve a balance of on-screen and off-screen tasks that help connect to concepts previously taught, the current curriculum, and new learning. Teacher interaction with students is a critical component to ensure new learning.

The Kansas State Department of Education has provided guidelines for the development of each district's unique Continuous Learning Plan. Even though these guidelines were only released last Thursday, March 19, 2020, through the sheer determination of our teaching staff, we are ahead of what KSDE recommended as an implementation timeline. We are on track to begin our plan on Monday, March 30, 2020.

We know you have a multitude of questions. We will continue to provide answers as they become available.

Thank you for your continued understanding and incredible display of grace during these unprecedented times.


UPDATE - March 25, 2020 - 09:15 a.m.

Important Notice!

Please note that we have increased the number of meals we have available, but are writing to give everyone a heads up as to the number of meals we have available at each site for today.

Edgerton Elem - 400 kits
Trail Ridge MS - 1000 kits
Wheatridge MS - 1000 kits
(up 300 total from Monday)

Our team has been working non-stop to meet the needs of our community, but with every district providing similar services, we are experiencing a demand greater than our supply chain’s capacity - just like the grocery stores. We are getting shipments daily to restock our supply and packing as quickly as our 10-person per building teams can possibly work. We ask that you please be patient with our team and each other today!

Thank you.


UPDATE - March 22, 2020 - 11:15 a.m.

Due to the closure of USD 231 school buildings, FREE grab & go meals for all children ages 1-18 will be available via drive-through curbside service at Edgerton Elementary and Wheatridge Middle School beginning Monday 3/23. Meal kits are available on Mondays (includes 2 breakfasts/2 lunches) and Wednesdays (includes 3 breakfasts/3 lunches). At this time, children must be present on site to receive a meal per USDA regulations. No additional income or residency documentation required. Click HERE for additional details.


UPDATE - March 20, 2020 - 07:15 a.m.

Parents, Students, and Community Members

We respectfully request that you refrain from contacting staff members directly during this unprecedented time. When staff don't respond, it is not due to a lack of concern, it is due to the fact that they are receiving much of the same information being shared with you at the same time. Please continue to visit this page frequently for the most up-to-date information. Thank you for your continued support and patience.


UPDATE - March 20, 2020 - 10:34 a.m.

From the Kansas State High School Athletic Association (KSHSAA)

The KSHSAA is committed to the safety of our student-participants and the health of our school communities. Accordingly, in response to Governor Kelly’s Executive Order regarding the closure and cessation of in-person instruction in all Kansas schools through May 29, 2020, the KSHSAA is cancelling all spring championships, competitions, and festivals for the remainder of this school year. The KSHSAA recognizes the value of school activities for all students and school communities, but the current situation does not permit the opportunity for school activities to take place in a manner that is consistent with the very reason school activities exist.

As a commitment to the health of Kansas students and communities, the best decision and only reasonable response is to cancel the regular season and post-season spring activity season. We all have an important responsibility to minimize community transmission as we embrace suggested precautions regarding COVID-19. As educators, the primary focus for our students and families is the health and well-being of each student. This action by the KSHSAA supports that effort across Kansas.

The KSHSAA strongly discourages non-school activity participation at this time in an effort to mitigate the community transmission of the coronavirus. All CDC, KDHE and KSDE recommendations for preventing disease transmission should be followed at this time for any non-school activity in which a student participates. The following links provide access to those resources:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/

KDHE:http://www.kdheks.gov/

KSDE:https://www.ksde.org/


UPDATE - March 18, 2020 - 04:23 p.m.

Like many of you, yesterday’s announcement by Governor Laura Kelly drove home the reality that the Coronavirus outbreak directly impacts our students. Several of you have reached out to me to express concerns about issues such as kindergarten graduation, student access to food, spring sports, and high school commencement. All of these, in addition to a multitude of others, are genuine concerns that we are working to address. Please know that, even if we don’t respond to your individual inquiries, we have heard your concerns and are working to provide answers as quickly as we are able.

As you may have already surmised, the planning process for the current situation began several weeks ago. Our administrative and operations teams began meeting regularly to discuss immediate needs as well as long-range planning should there be a prolonged closure of schools.

I am writing today to share some of these details:

STUDENT ACCESS TO FOOD

We appreciate that many of you have expressed concern about students being able to secure food during this closure. Gardner Edgerton Nutrition Services has been working almost nonstop to provide free meals to all students and siblings ages 1-18 affected by emergency school closures beginning Monday, March 23. There are no income or residency requirements for these meals. Meal kits consisting of multiple days of sack lunches and breakfasts will be distributed via drive-through grab and go service to students on Mondays (2 breakfasts/2 lunches) and Wednesdays (3 breakfasts/3 lunches) at the schools listed below until the closure ends. At this time, children must be present to receive meals. Additional details will be shared throughout the week via the district channels. Questions regarding the meal program should be sent via email to nutrition@usd231.com.

  • Edgerton Elementary. 425 W Nelson, Edgerton: 10:30am - 11:00am
    • (US 56 bus/car loop entrance)
  • Wheatridge Middle School. 319 E Washington, Gardner: 11:30am - 12:30pm
    • (east car loop entrance)

STUDENT ACCESS TO MEDICATIONS AND MATERIALS

We understand there is a need for families to collect belongings from the school and, for some, their medications and supplies. When the buildings become accessible, we will share details related to obtaining these types of items.

CHILDCARE

We understand this closure may place a tremendous burden on some of our working parents. Johnson County has established a task force that is collaborating with school districts, including USD 231, and other county agencies such as child care licensing, to explore options knowing some needs exist. As more information is received from this task force, we will share it with our families.

COMMUNITY HEALTH

Johnson County Health and Environment has launched a new community COVID-19 hotline. Community members can call (913) 715-2819 between 7 a.m. - 6 p.m, Monday through Friday. This hotline has been set up for community members to ask general COVID-19 health-related questions, including when to seek medical attention. Thank you to our Gardner Edgerton School District nurses who are helping to staff this hotline.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING GUIDELINES

You may have heard Governor Kelly or Commissioner Watson allude to continuous learning guidelines. Please know we already have a team working on this project that will be coordinated with other Johnson County School Districts. Details of these guidelines will be shared when they become finalized.

IN CLOSING

We know that students, families, and staff will have many questions. We will continue to provide updates via several methods:

Stay safe, enjoy time with your family, and enjoy the remainder of your spring break. We will follow up next week with additional details.

Sincerely,

Pam Stranathan
Superintendent


UPDATE - March 17, 2020 - 08:32 a.m.

JOCO superintendents support the Governor's order to close schools through the end of the school year.

In order to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Kansas, on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered all public schools in Kansas to remain closed through the end of the school year.

“The steps we're announcing today will create the space we need at the state level, to develop a more strategic resilient infrastructure, so that we can get ahead of this threat and limit its long-term impact,” Governor Kelly noted.

You can view the Governor’s press conference online or read recent press releases issued on the Governor’s website.

As much as we would like to be able to answer all of your questions, it is not possible at this time. This is uncharted territory for all of us - health officials, government officials, and education officials. Please grant each other a measure of grace as we work to better understand our new normal.

We appreciate your patience as we thoughtfully respond as quickly as we are able. Please check your email frequently for updates and additional information.

Sincerely,

Pam Stranathan
Superintendent of Schools


UPDATE - March 16, 2020 - 02:15 p.m.

At the direction of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, all schools in the Gardner Edgerton School District will be closed through April 5. In addition to our schools being closed through April 5, all school activities, practices, and events are also canceled during this time. There will be no facility rental or Johnson County Parks and Recreation care during this time.

We recognize the challenges that this closure presents for families and students, but agree with JCDHE that this closure is in the best interest of students in our district. Meanwhile, please follow all advice from public health advocates to keep yourself and your family safe. This includes taking the idea of social distancing seriously and keeping yourself and your children away from group gatherings. Additional information will be shared in the coming days, including details related to providing food for students in need.

Again, the Gardner Edgerton School District is closed through April 5. We know you will have many questions and USD 231 will continue to inform families and staff of updates as available and communicate should this closure need to continue past April 5.

Thank you for your continued understanding, patience, and support.


UPDATE - March 15, 2020 - 07:15 a.m.

We hope you are enjoying spring break. We are writing tonight with the most-up-to-date information as it relates to our operations and COVID-19.

The following is a joint message from the Gardner Edgerton School District, Blue Valley Schools, De Soto School District, Olathe Public Schools, Shawnee Mission School District, and Spring Hill School District.

_____________________________

The Kansas State Department of Education issued the following statement on Sunday, March 15:

As of Sun., March 15, Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson strongly recommends that those schools currently coming off of spring break, suspend operations for the week March 16-20. All schools scheduled for spring break the week of March 16-20 will continue as planned.

Closing all schools during this same period of time provides Kansas officials the time needed to finalize a comprehensive plan for how to address COVID-19.

It is critical that we all follow a coordinated response to this situation.

This announcement does not directly impact districts in Johnson County, as all districts are on Spring Break from March 16-20, 2020; however, we commend Commissioner Watson on making this important recommendation.

As we are all well aware, proactive measures to combat COVID-19 are important to community health and safety. All Johnson County school districts will continue to work closely with Johnson County government, including the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, to take proactive steps to address student, staff and community safety. Families should continue to proactively make plans for the very real possibility of a school closure beyond Spring Break.

As this remains a fluid and evolving situation, we will keep families updated as more information becomes available from Johnson County officials and the Kansas State Department of Education.

__________________________

As more information becomes available, we will share it with our families.

Thanks for your understanding and enjoy a well-deserved break!


UPDATE - March 13, 2020 - 07:15 a.m.

As partners in community health, the six school districts of Johnson County, Johnson County Government and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment are in the process of collaborating and accumulating data regarding the continuation of school following spring break.

The districts will be deep cleaning and disinfecting buildings and school buses while students and staff members are on spring break.

The Kansas State Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) advised against district closures at this time. Although they have advised against a closure, we would like parents to be aware that a closure may become necessary in the future.

Before we return from spring break, we will continue to evaluate the implementation of the interim guidance from KDHE and KSDE.

As we collaborate with local health officials, we will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.

Spring Break Closure

All schools in USD 231 will be closed to staff and the public from the end of the day, March 13, through Sunday, March 22. Additionally, all activities, practices, events, and facility rentals are suspended during this time. All district property (fields, tracks, courts, grounds, etc.) are also closed. Off-campus practices for athletic and activity groups are also suspended during spring break.

The community response to COVID-19 is unprecedented and continues to evolve. This situation remains fluid and there may be additional changes in guidance in the coming days.

Cleaning & Prevention

As part of our closure during spring break, USD 231 will take the time necessary to conduct a deep cleaning of school facilities. Only essential personnel will have access to our facilities.

The best defense, as you know, is for all of us to practice healthy hygiene habits.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick (for the full recommended recovery time)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Keep sick children at home until they are fever-free for a full 24 hours without the aid of medication.

Travel

Families and individuals who travel outside the United States over break should check in with JCDHE about their travel history and follow the direction and guidance from public health experts regarding isolation or quarantine measures. KDHE recommends that anyone returning from travel to known “hot spots” for the virus – even within the U.S. – and who have had no known direct exposure to someone with the virus should check in with their local public health department, monitor their health and maintain social distancing. >http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/index.htm

Working Together

The support and assistance of our school community when working to contain communicable diseases is vital. Teaching the foundations of healthy habits in the home, self-reporting illness, and keeping sick individuals home are important elements in the success of containing communicable diseases within a community. The diligence of our family partners in this effort is greatly appreciated.

We are working closely with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to adapt plans and responses as necessary.


UPDATE - March 12, 2020 - 05:16 p.m.

All student practices and activities over Spring Break will be suspended and we will be canceling any outside facility rental and usage of our buildings. This includes Johnson County Parks and Recreation consolidated sites, which will be closed beginning March 13.


UPDATE - February 26, 2020 - 09:47 a.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak that has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan. Other cases are being identified in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States. While the CDC considers this is a serious public health threat, the immediate health risk to Kansans is considered low at this time.

According to the CDC, the new Coronavirus typically causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, much like the common cold. People who become infected can experience a runny nose, cough, fever, headache, and sore throat. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia or bronchitis. Symptoms generally appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Simple everyday healthy habits will help prevent the spread of illnesses. Follow basic prevention guidelines to reduce the risk of many respiratory infections, including the new Coronavirus and the flu.

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Anyone experiencing flu-like respiratory symptoms who have recently traveled from Wuhan, China, or other affected areas or who has had close contact with someone suspected of being infected should stay home and call a health care provider or the KDHE Epidemiology at 1-877-427-7317.

Gardner Edgerton USD 231 will continue to stay in close contact with our local health care partners for information. We will keep staff and families informed if additional health measures are recommended.

You may find more information online at www.cdc.gov or www.kdheks.gov. Please contact your school nurse, the local health department at 913-826-1200, or your family’s health care provider with any questions.


RESOURCES

Johnson County Health and Environment

Johnson County Government COVID-19 Updates

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention