KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Public Schools students will continue wearing masks for the rest of the school year and likely throughout summer school.
The district’s decision comes as three elementary schools have been affected by COVID-19 outbreaks. KCPS currently has one of the highest case rates in the state.
“I want them to be back in class. You want the normal, but then I think a lot of it has to do with we have to accept that the new normal is just going to be different,” said Kissha Hood, a KCPS parent.
In a virtual district advisory council meeting, Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell addressed the growing concerns.
“All of them from our contract tracing occurred outside of the school,” Bedell said. “We will follow the procedures that we have in place.”
Right now, district officials say there are 27 positive COVID-19 cases with 183 people quarantined. At Trailwoods Elementary, the entire school has gone back to virtual learning. At Hartman Elementary, two classrooms are quarantined, and at Wheatley Elementary, one classroom is quarantined.
“We knew going into this that it wasn’t that we weren’t going to be immune and exempt to some of the things that other districts have faced,” Bedell said. “But our ultimate goal is to open up fully in August.”
Some teachers and parents say they’re satisfied with the way district officials have changed policies to keep students safe.
“Bringing the children back into the building, everything is done in the classrooms. That is breakfast, lunch. Even some of their special classes like art, music happens inside the classroom,” KCPS teacher and parent Jamie Thurman said. “So as far as moving around, there is very minimal.”
Some high schools in the area have started testing students on campus. The district also said it’s working to provide vaccines to elligible students.
“My son who is 15 has voiced his opinion that he wants to be vaccinated. If now that I see that that is being offered, he will,” Hood said.
There are several schools offering testing on campus, but some parents would like to see school nurses trained to administer COVID-19 tests.
“Equipping our nurses in our buildings to be able to administer those, when necessary, will be an excellent help,” Thurman said. “It will make sure it will give us parents a security and knowing that no matter what I can make sure that my child is OK.”