Dozens of teenagers exposed to COVID-19 at weekend cheer clinic in Johnson County


SPRING HILL, Kan. — An event organized to give students a reason to cheer is instead forcing high schoolers into quarantine.

A Kansas State High School Athletics Association cheer clinic was held at Spring Hill High School on Sept. 9. KSHSAA said 33 schools across the region attended the one-day clinic.

The event was supposed to help cheerleaders boost spirit when they returned to their schools. Instead, everyone who attended the clinic was exposed to COVID-19. In total, the association said a total of 355 cheer squad members and 100 dance squad members attended the event.

A letter to Kansas City, Kansas, cheer parents said the Johnson County Health Department was notified after three people who attended the clinic tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have no idea if those were actually caused by our event or not, but we know of three so far,” said Craig Manteuffel, KSHSAA assistant director of fine arts and spirit.

After investigating, KSHSAA said that according to the health department, everyone in attendance should assume they were exposed to the virus. KSHSAA said no other cases have been reported to the association as of Friday morning.

Manteuffel said KSHSAA is encouraging students to wear masks when available, though he acknowledged it’s tough to keep them dry and on while cheering and dancing.

“No. 1 and foremost is vaccinations, currently that’s the best way to get beyond this pandemic,” he said.

The Kansas City, Kansas School District said members of its cheer squads were at the clinic. The Unified Government Public Health Department gave the district specific instructions to those cheerleaders. It’s different than the district’s usual protocol.

According to KCKPS, anyone who attends a school in KCK, is not fully vaccinated, and attended the clinic can choose between two options:

  • Quarantine for 14 days
    • Monitor for symptoms of illness
    • No testing is required with this option
    • Return to school and activities on Sept. 24
  • Quarantine for 10 days
    • Get a PCR test between Sept. 16 and Sept. 18
    • If test is negative, and no symptoms, return to school and activities on Sept. 20
    • Monitor for symptoms through Sept. 23

The district said families can pick up a free test kit from their school or at the former Kmart location at 7836 State Ave. After registering online and collecting the sample, completed tests can be dropped off at the location where you got the test.

Tests must be returned no later than 2pm on Friday, September 17, 2021, in order to receive test results by Monday, September 20, 2021.

Testing is also free through the Wyandotte County Unified Government Public Health Department.

If you child attended the cheer clinic, but a lab test confirmed they already had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, they do not need to quarantine, unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. You must provide documented proof to the school district to The school nurse will review this documentation.

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