School districts still allowing fall sports as Kansas records 23 new COVID-19 deaths, 1,280 new cases

Updated at 3:03 p.m. Friday

OLATHE — Amid protests and lawsuits, two more large Kansas school districts are reversing course and allowing sports to proceed despite increases in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths.

The school board for the Olathe district, which is the state’s second largest with about 30,000 students, decided Thursday to allow fall sports and activities. Hundreds of parents had protested outside the meeting.

The superintendent of the nearby Blue Valley district then decided Friday morning to follow suit.

The decisions came after Wichita public schools reversed course Tuesday on plans to cancel fall sports. The Lawrence district also has decided to play for now despite concerns from local health officials.

Statewide, Kansas added 23 COVID-19 deaths to its total from Wednesday to Friday, to bring the total to 481. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Kristi Zears said in an email that the increase stemmed from a review of death certificates and didn’t necessarily represent an increase over a two-day period.

The state also added 1,280 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s confirmed total to 45,220 since the pandemic began. That includes 27 outbreaks at colleges and universities, five in K-12 schools and 15 in sports programs.

Meanwhile, the 7-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Kansas has risen over the past two weeks from 13.23% on Aug. 20 to 16.58% on Thursday, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.


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