Johnson County officials want 100 at school to quarantine; parents protest
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Johnson County health officials are urging more than 100 people who had contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 at at an elementary school in Overland Park to quarantine for 14 days, but some parents are objecting to the recommendation.
The county health department said the positive case involved a person at Timber Creek Elementary School in the Blue Valley district, but they did not say if a student or staff member was infected.
The department sent a letter Saturday to Blue Valley Superintendent Tonya Merrigan, urging affected individuals to abide by the quarantine.
Sanmi Areola, county health director, said on Monday that the 14-day quarantine is the appropriate action to contain the spread, The Kansas City Star reported.
Elementary students returned to a mix of remote and in-person schooling in Blue Valley on Sept. 9. The district currently plans to bring elementary students back to in-person classes full time on Oct. 5.
Several parents who want to return now to full-time, in-person classes protested at the school Sunday. Christine White, a pediatrician who has frequently called for schools to reopen, hosted the rally.
She said in a Facebook post that the quarantine was a “massive overreaction.”
“Please understand that if we let this action by the health department and school go unchecked and we let them slide, then they will know we have a breaking point where we will just lay down and accept the crumbs of an education for our children,” she wrote.
Health officials across the country have recommended 14-day quarantines for those who have contact with an infected person.
“We strongly urge Blue Valley families and staff to follow the quarantine recommendation,” Areola wrote in the letter to Merrigan. “This is an essential step in limiting the virus from inadvertently and unconsciously being spread to others within a school building.”