The Winfield board of education unanimously approved three aspects of a COVID-19 district testing proposal at their Monday night meeting.
Kent Tamsen, USD 465 director of Information Technology and Operations, and Lorri Greenlee, coordinator of health services for USD 465, presented the material.
The district will work with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Wichita State University. USD 465 district nurses will collect specimens in school buildings. The PCR testing is very good, Tamsen said. He was quick to point out that the testing is for only faculty, staff and students. The labs at Wichita State University will read the tests and get the results back to the district within 24 hours.
“We’re not doing away with our relationship with the (City-Cowley County) health department,” Tamsen said, but doing the testing at the schools will move things along faster.
Funding for the testing comes from the CARES program directly to WSU; the district will not have to pay for it out of their own CARES funding.
The district will also set up a vaccine clinic when more vaccine becomes available. Tamsen said the district surveyed staff and received 370 responses. Of that number, 78 percent said they were interested in receiving the vaccine and 22 percent said no.
Tamsen said 19 staff members have already been immunized, so they will be in charge of the vaccination clinics.
“There’s a lot of logistical planning” that still has to be done, Tamsen said, but Greenlee wants to get things going as soon as they can get the vaccine. “I’m ready,” she said.
The vaccine clinics, like the testing, will be for only USD 465 staff, although Tamsen said that staff from Trinity Lutheran School and Holy Name Catholic School are also included in that group. He also said the district will have to strategize the order for giving out the vaccine in line with the CDC directives.
The third part of the plan is a change to the district medication policy to expand the district’s ability to store and utilize EpiPens. The schools need access to more of the pens to treat students who may be exhibiting signs of anaphylaxis (allergy reactions), and that need is immediate.
The district will set up a system whereby a stock of EpiPens will be available in every building. The pens will come from the manufacturer at no cost to the district, and they will be replaced by the manufacturer as they go past their due date.