MATT RESNICK

Royster Middle School and Chanute Elementary School have a combined 10 active COVID-19 cases, triggering the state of Kansas threshold for active clusters in both buildings with five cases apiece over the previous 14-day period. Two additional active cases have been reported at Chanute High.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Wednesday reported 56 active COVID-19 school clusters, but Royster and CES were not named in the report. 

It’s unknown whether USD 413 has reported its testing to the state, as nearly a quarter of Kansas school districts do not closely follow KDHE testing protocol guidelines or are unresponsive to state inquiries, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. 

The article also noted that state metrics have revealed that outbreaks are generally bigger at schools where masks are not required. USD 413 is currently operating under a mask-optional measure, and has been in that protocol for all but two weeks of the fall semester.

In addition to the 12 active positive cases, 61 other individuals are in quarantine. A total of 41 of those were categorized as having been in close contact with a positive case on district premises, while the other 20 were deemed to be from outside exposures. 

The Capital-Journal also reported that a recent K-12 outbreak turned deadly, and likely occurred in the 10- to 17-year-old age group, based on info gleaned from KDHE.

Superintendent Kellen Adams told The Tribune last week that he does not have any concerns regarding “small fluctuations” of active cases within the district. Directly correlating with his administrative team’s pivot away from mandatory masking from the period of Sept. 6-20, the district has since seen its active case-count grow from one to a dozen. 

Since the first day of classes Aug. 12, USD 413 has tallied 73 positive cases and 489 total exposures. Of the cases, 52 have emanated from the student population, while 21 were staff. Additionally, 290 close-contact exposures occurred on district premises.

The latest numbers may facilitate a switch from Green to Yellow protocol. Yellow denotes that the positivity plus exposure rate is between 2 to 4.99 percent. This requires mandatory masking only when social distancing is not possible. The Yellow protocol also requires visitors and spectators on district premises to mask up.

The new Gating Committee findings are set to be released today.

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