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Some public centers in county still open among closures
With three school districts on spring break, Covid-19 precautions yet to be determined
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BARTON COUNTY — Hoisington USD 431 is on spring break, and the USD 431 Board of Education will determine later in the week if the break will be extended further. The Hoisington Activity Center is closed and all activities have been canceled for the week.

The Hoisington Public Library is remaining open. The Great Bend Tribune spoke with Hoisington Public Library Director Karen La Pierre, who stated the library will remain open until board members decide to take other steps. This week, children’s activities have been canceled, so there is no story time for preschoolers. 

People who have internet access at home who would like help setting up access to the digital/audio/video book lending app Hoopla are encouraged to give the library a call.

“It’s very easy to set up over the phone,” La Pierre said. 

According to the City of Hoisington, there have been no changes to city operations. There are no Friendship meals this week due to the closure this week of Elder Care in Great Bend.  

Ellinwood USD 355 is also on spring break this week, and likewise has not announced if they will extend the break due to Covid-19 concerns. The Ellinwood School and Community Library and the Ellinwood Rec are also tied to the school district and share the facilities, so they are also not open this week due to spring break. There are no practices this week for spring sports, so that means all activities have been canceled by the Ellinwood Rec. They will follow suit with actions the school district implements. 

According to Steven Richter, an Ellinwood Fitness Center employee, the center will remain open to members at this time. Employees were busy deep cleaning Monday morning.

Central Plains USD 112 is also on spring break this week, so schools are closed. The Claflin Rec Commission is a joint commission with the City of Claflin and is open limited hours throughout the week. Rec Director Jessie Habiger spoke with the Tribune Monday morning. The Rec Commission is following the lead of USD 112, and so there are no Rec practices this week, which is affecting the city’s soccer program, she said. They will follow recommendations from the USD 112 Board of Education and the Kansas State High School Athletics Association. 

“If the school calls off, we will likely do the same,” she said. 

The Claflin Fitness Center is available 24 hours a day to its paying members, and Habiger spent hours Monday morning cleaning and sanitizing the facility. It will remain open for the time being she said. 

“Members can decide if they want to visit, and we are encouraging them to wipe down equipment before and after use,” Habiger said.  

The Independent Township Library in Claflin announced via social media that it would be open Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, but would be closed for the rest of the week beginning on Wednesday.  No decision has been made concerning closure next week, but updates will be posted on the library’s facebook page. Librarians can help patrons with library cards to access Hoopla and Libby apps for ebooks, movies and audiobooks.