The following update was emailed to staff and families on November 13, 2020:
In this Update:
· Gating Criteria Update
· Help Stop COVID-19
This week, the Board of Education held a special meeting, which included a discussion on gating criteria related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This update includes information about that discussion, and how it might impact you and your family over the next few weeks.
At the center of the discussion on Nov. 10, was the reality of the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in Johnson County.
Gating Criteria Update
Elizabeth Holzschuh, director of epidemiology for Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE), provided an update from JCDHE about COVID-19 in Johnson County. She stated during the meeting that JCDHE is not recommending that schools go remote at all school levels. That stance is based in part on very low transmission rates inside schools in Johnson County, including the Shawnee Mission School District. Many staff members have worked untold hours to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while keeping schools open. This has been an incredible feat and is a reason to continue the mitigation strategies in place in school buildings.
On Nov. 10, the Board of Education approved two following authorizations:
1. SMSD, under the authority of the Superintendent, will follow JCDHE recommendations regarding academics, including in-person instruction, except where deemed necessary to be more restrictive, such as limited staffing.
2. The Board also authorized that the superintendent to have latitude regarding athletics and activities to be more or less restrictive than JCDHE criteria, depending on the superintendent’s determination. As shared on October 30, the decision was made to move forward with high school winter activities and athletics with mitigations and safety protocols in place.
The community at large is seeing significant spikes in positive cases of COVID-19. This has a real and direct impact on staffing schools. If positive cases continue to increase in our community, schools will not be able to be safely and appropriately staffed. As a reminder, the district will provide a minimum 14-day notice when moving from one mode of instruction to another, except in situations requiring immediate action.
It is important for our community to be prepared: If we are not able to staff our schools due to illness, this could result in a situation where we have to move some or all of our schools to remote learning.
Stop the Spread of COVID-19
To keep students in school, the spread of COVID-19 must be stopped, not only in district buildings, but in our community. Please follow these steps to prevent the virus from spreading:
· Wearing masks
· Practicing social distancing
· Washing hands
· Staying home if sick
It’s important families continue to monitor students for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Please review the Daily COVID-19 assessment here.
We are asking all SMSD families to cooperate with contact tracing by the district and the JCDHE. This tracing is essential in efforts to keep schools open.
Thank you to every SMSD educator; they are exerting tremendous effort in support of our mission to serve students, despite the challenges this year has brought.
We must provide one another support as the global pandemic carries on. Knowing mental health is a primary concern in our community, we want to be sure that staff and family members are aware of resources and ways to find help:
· Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or those supporting someone in crisis are encouraged to call the Johnson County Mental Health 24/7 crisis line at 913-268-0156.
· Families who need support are encouraged to reach out to their school social worker, who can connect them with additional resources.
· Support is available to SMSD staff members through New Directions, the Employee Assistance program.
· PriorityOne Health Center, available to staff, offers behavioral health services and an on-site therapist. Click here to learn more. A web page featuring more mental health resources for staff is available here.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership in support of our students.
En esta actualización:
Asignación de personal
Es importante que las familias continúen monitoreando a los estudiantes para detectar signos y síntomas de COVID-19. Revise la evaluación diaria de COVID-19 aquí: Please review the Daily COVID-19 assessment here.
Pedimos a todas las familias de SMSD que cooperen con la localización de contactos por parte del distrito y el JCDHE. Este rastreo es esencial en los esfuerzos por mantener abiertas las escuelas.
Gracias por su colaboración continua en apoyo de nuestros estudiantes.