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Schools deal with COVID-19 cases
St. John Schools closed; Macksville ends quarantine

St. John-Hudson USD 350 schools are closed this week due to the increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 cases and the shortage of staff and available substitutes. The district office posted a notification Sunday on Facebook.

There will be no remote learning during this time and meals will not be served this week, the notice adds. School and school activities will resume on Monday, Sept. 20. COVID-19 testing for students will be available on a limited basis.

Macksville Junior/Senior High was listed as a COVID-19 cluster location on the last Kansas Department of Health and Environment report, released Wednesday, Sept. 8.

On Sept. 7, Macksville USD 351 posted a letter to parents and guardians of 5th- and 6th-grade students, notifying them that a staff member who works in “you child’s classroom” had tested positive for COVID-19. The letter was signed by Superintendent Greg Rinehart and USD 351 Nurse Becky Filbert. Rather than requiring a 14-day quarantine for all of the students, the district had those students remain in their classroom and separated from other students. They would eat lunch in the classroom and special classes such as art and music would also be taught in the classroom. Recesses and outdoor breaks were separate from other classes. Parents were also urged to monitor their children’s symptoms and keep children home if they were ill.

“Unfortunately, bus transportation cannot be provided during this quarantine,” the letter noted. “Finally, no students will be involved in any extracurricular activities after school, including homecoming (which was last Friday), until Sept. 13.” Normal instruction was to resume on Monday, Sept. 13, barring future developments.

Roosevelt Elementary School at Hoisington USD 431 was also listed as a cluster location last Wednesday, since there were five cases within the last 14 days. According to that report, the last date of symptom onset was Aug. 30.

On Sept. 3, a post on the school Facebook page announced that any students who are currently quarantined and are asymptomatic on Day 3 of quarantine have the option to get tested. With proof of a negative result they may return to school on Day 4.

This was repeated on Sept. 10 when Hoisington USD 431 Superintendent Patrick Crowdis said the district was using a 10-day quarantine with students able to return after three days with a negative test.

It was also noted that Roosevelt Elementary’s Grandparents Day celebrations set for Friday, Sept. 10, would be rescheduled.

Great Bend USD 428

Great Bend USD 428 updated its COVID-19 statistics on Monday, reporting 13 active cases and 31 resolved cases district-wide.

Cases per building:

GBHS 1 (active) and 10 (resolved)

GBMS 1 and 5

Eisenhower 4 and 7

Little Panthers Preschool 1 and 0

Jefferson 4 and 1

Lincoln 1 and 6

Park 0 and 1

Riley 1 and 1

There have been no cases at the District Education Center or at Helping Hands Preschool.


As of 9 a.m. Monday, Kansas has had 390,031 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 13,195 hospitalizations and 5,773 statewide deaths. There were 3,149 new cases, 32 new hospitalizations and seven new deaths reported since Friday, Sept. 10.

Here are the totals to date of positive and probable cases for area counties, followed by any change since Friday.

• Barton 3,197 (+54)

• Ellsworth 1,295 (+0)

• Pawnee 1,230 (+4)

• Rice 1,272 (+16)

• Rush 477 (+0)

• Russell 964 (+1)

• Stafford 456 (+17)

No new area deaths were reported.

Barton County has reported 103 COVID-19 related hospitalizations to date and Pawnee County has reported 56. This is an increase of one hospitalization in each county since last Friday.

Statewide, 45% of the total population has completed the vaccine series. For those age 12 years and older, 42% of Barton County residents and 51% of Pawnee County residents are fully vaccinated.

KDHE released the latest ranking of 105 counties on Friday. Counties are ranked on each of three COVID measures:

• Vaccination rate

• Average number of COVID cases

• Average number of COVID tests given

Barton County ranked 92nd and Pawnee County ranked 19th.

The individual rankings for those counties were:

• Barton: 84th in vaccination rate; 85th in cases (71 seven-day average per 100,000 people); and 49th in testing (222 seven-day average per 100,000 people)

• Pawnee: 25th in vaccination rate; 16th in cases (24 seven-day average per 100,000 people); and 68th in testing (171 seven-day average per 100,000 people)