School guidance remains in yellow tier, but Eudora school reports multiple staff cases

photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health

Sept. 24 COVID-19 update from the health department

While COVID-19 numbers showed some improvement, guidance for area school districts remains in the yellow zone, and an elementary school has halted in-person classes after Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department officials asked it to do so after multiple staff member cases.

Eudora Elementary School notified staff and parents Thursday afternoon that it would go to all remote learning model beginning Friday after two staff members at the school tested positive for COVID-19. Two other staff members have test results pending, the district said in its announcement.

The school had been in a hybrid learning model, where a portion of the school’s students attended in-person classes on certain days of the week, while the remaining students learned remotely. The district’s announcement said it “received guidance from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health to adjust our instructional learning model” as a result of the positive cases.

The district expects to keep the elementary school in a remote-only learning mode through at least Oct. 4, according to the release. In the meantime, staff will work to deep clean and disinfect the school.

Mark Dodge, the spokesperson for the Eudora School District, also said a student had tested positive at Eudora High School. Dodge said that to his knowledge, there are no other tests pending for anyone associated with the high school.

The health department’s color-coded guidance is meant to help county school districts navigate reopening schools and conducting activities as the coronavirus pandemic continues into the fall semester.

In the update, the health department reported that the county’s 14-day average positivity rate is at 8% while the 14-day moving average for new cases per day is about 16. This is an improvement from last week, when the 14-day average positivity rate was at 8.5% and the 14-day moving average for new cases was 18.

photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health

Sept. 24 Douglas County COVID-19 test positivity rate graph

However, that reduction wasn’t enough to move into the less restrictive green tier. The criteria for the green tier is an average positivity rate at or below 5%. The green tier provides recommendations that school districts can possibly safely move entirely to in-person classes, and also opens up more sports and activity options for schools.

Despite the yellow tier calling for schools to prohibit sports such as soccer and football, the Lawrence school district has allowed those and other sports to continue. Some postponement or cancellations of athletics events due to COVID cases have occurred.

Douglas County reported 2,149 cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, an increase of 14 cases since Wednesday.

The county’s current average of about 16 new cases per day is down from a high of 45 cases per day in late August and up from a low of nine cases per day in early August. The county’s positivity rate of 8% is down from a high of 9.8% in early September and up from a recent low of 3.1% in late August.

In Douglas County, 1,646 out of the 2,149 cases are inactive or beyond the infectious period, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

Two patients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Thursday, the same number as Wednesday. Ten Douglas County residents have died thus far from COVID-19 or with the virus as a contributing factor in their deaths.


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