KCPS, Olathe among metro schools changing schedules and plans to combat coronavirus

Tracking Coronavirus

OLATHE, Kan. — The spread of coronavirus is now affecting school districts across the Kansas City metro.

Kansas City Public Schools announced it will cancel classes on Friday, March 13. The district is already scheduled for spring break next week, but all sports and other events have been canceled during that week.

Next week, KCPS said it will let parents and staff know how it will proceed after the break.

The district is looking into services like food distribution, online learning and deep cleaning in case school is canceled, but they haven’t made any decisions at this time.

Belton School District also canceled classes on Friday, starting its spring break one week early.

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Rockhurst High School also called off school for Friday, starting their break early. However, they plan to transition to online learning for a few weeks after break, according to the private school.

As of Thursday afternoon, neither KCMO nor Belton have any confirmed cases of coronavirus.

On the other side of the state line, the Olathe School District has announced its also canceling classes on Friday, March 13. That means spring break will begin one day earlier than originally scheduled for the metro’s largest school district of nearly 30,000 students.

Olathe schools also said all activities and practices during spring break are canceled.

This break will give district leaders a chance to disinfect its school buildings, and the cancellation of classes will also discourage the virus’ spread by discouraging students and teachers from gathering in groups.

School districts across Johnson County told FOX4 they’ll follow guidelines as presented by county health officials.

On Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said the agency doesn’t specifically advise school districts on canceling.

As of Thursday evening, Johnson County has reported four confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“There are a lot of things to consider with parents and kids,” said Mary Beverly, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “The CDC has recommendations that are trying to get ahead of an outbreak in the community. We’re worried about community-wide transmissions.”

Beverly indicated that local health officials and school district leaders had collaborated on Thursday, discussing priorities and procedures that might be needed. 

Educators in other Johnson County districts also took part in conversations with state health officials on Thursday. Students from the Shawnee Mission School District and Blue Valley School District will begin their spring break on Friday, as previously scheduled.

Information was shared with SMSD families and community members about students taking home their tech devices and educational resources. BVSD leaders emailed parents, encouraging them to be smart and safe while traveling during their week off.

Schools and facilities from both of those districts will undergo a deep cleaning during Spring Break. 

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