The novel coronavirus that has spread throughout the nation has led to USD 413 restricting access to the Chanute Community Sports Complex.
Chanute’s school board voted on Aug. 3 to restrict access to outside entities to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19. USD 413 defines outside entities as “any non-USD 413 sponsored activity” that uses the complex for competition. The vote was a part of a road map to a reopening process that was started by the board in July, and included food service and transportation, among other line items.
“The primary (reason) goes back to the whole idea of having people and we don’t know where they came from, so unknown whereabouts as well as the contact tracing piece, just becomes that much more convoluted,” USD 413 Superintendent Dr. Kellen Adams said. “So the idea was – and remember everything is a recommendation from the state – but if you can limit your facilities, whether it be in the school buildings or in the practice and game facilities, you get limited exposure. We really had to prioritize. And fortunately or unfortunately, for some that meant they were lower on the priority chain than say our student-athletes. So while we love to get it back open, right now our priority is for our student-athletes.”
When the coronavirus was first declared a pandemic earlier in the year, it was on the radar of most people. The Kansas State High School Activities Association then voted to cancel spring sports and the State playoffs for basketball. Kansas then recommended that schools restrict facilities while still being able to do business. When the early summer rolled around and cases were spiking across the country, USD 413 had a solid idea that the district would get to a point where they would have to restrict outside entities at the complex and school, though the idea of limiting outside entities was evolving well before the spike in cases.
While there is no clear date for when the restriction will be lifted, Adams said he is monitoring the cases in the county according to a color system.
“We are handling what color we’re going to be in as far as the green, yellow, orange, red, that we’re handling one week at a time, so I would say the same thing would apply to our facilities, that we can begin to handle those in any given week. Let’s say we went through several weeks of green and across the country or across the state at least, things are really beginning to settle down. That’s when we would begin to look at if it makes sense to open things back up,” Adams said.
The district has a plan to zero in on any cases and contact the proper officials to keep students and athletes safe. Adams confirmed that two students at CHS tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. So, the county immediately wanted to find out who the students were around. The district turned over seating charts and other information to the county health department.
It’s important to note, Adams said, that it would be difficult to track this kind of information if there are unknown parties coming to the sports complex.
“It would be next to impossible, but the primary reason for the restriction was just to simply lower the exposure, so obviously the less users you have in a space, your chances go down,” Adams said. “To boil it down to as simple as matter of fact, we just wanted to minimize exposure wherever possible, so limiting outside groups was a way to do that.”