School COVID data now available online

A new online resource that tracks COVID-19 activity at public schools in Kansas is available online.

The digital maps produced by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment show case rates and vaccination rates at each school district across the state.

In the CourierTraveler readership area, the highest case rate occurred in Cedar Vale between Sept. 9 and Oct. 1, the latest information published on the site. There were only seven cases, but with only 133 students, the case rate for Cedar Vale schools was 52.6 per 1,000.

Winfield’s 19 student cases translated to a 9.3 rate per 1,000 students. Arkansas City also had 19 cases but a lower rate of 7.3. Ark City has about 600 more students, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.

COVID activity in the USD 470 district has settled down quite a bit from the first weeks of school when more than 200 kids were in quarantine at one point. As of Wednesday afternoon, 67 students were in quarantine, according to district data.

USD 470 started out with no mask requirement, then implemented one, then rescinded that as long as each building stayed under a certain number of cases and quarantines. It also added the option of daily testing so close contacts could stay in school without having to isolate at home.

“We are pleased with the overall success of the updated COVID mitigation plan,” Superintendent Ron Ballard said. “Of course, it is only successful when all points of effort: masks (when required), hand sanitation, deep cleaning, social distancing, etc. are all maintained and practiced.”

Ballard said the state’s ‘Stay and Learn” testing program adopted by the school board recently is working.

“Our nurses (and a fine group of support persons) have this in full operation. It is working well. We still identify any COVID-positive cases early but manage to keep non-infected kids in school for in-person learning and success.”

An email to Winfield’s superintendent Nathan Reed had not received a response before deadline.

Overall in Cowley County, COVID-19 cases continue to mount. In the past seven days, 113 new cases were reported through Tuesday, an average of 16.1 per day. Deaths remained at 122. Pandemic case totals reached 5,335, according to state health officials.

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