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198 USD 259 employees on quarantine, data for students coming soon

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One hundred ninety-eight employees at Wichita Public Schools are on active quarantine after either testing positive for COVID-19, traveling, or being a close contact of a positive case.

The latest COVID-19 surveillance report from USD 259 shows that there are eight positive cases in employees and 69 new employees under quarantine.

“It could be that they weren’t exposed at school,” said Kimberly Howard, president of United Teachers of Wichita. “They could’ve been exposed at home with a spouse or somewhere else in the community, so it’s not just exposure at school. But, we have to assume that some of them are.”

The district wants families and parents to know that their children and loved ones are safe when coming to work and school.

“We are working hard to make sure that we are protecting our teachers in every way possible, but more importantly the kiddos,” said Sean Hudspeth, chief human resources officer for USD 259.

A concern for some teachers is what will happen if more have to be out for quarantine. Howard said there is a concern if there will be enough substitutes.

“A lot of our substitutes are retired teachers so they fall in that high-risk category,” said Howard. “A lot of them are not coming back to sub this year until coronavirus is under control.”

District officials said they are actively hiring and finding subs is a challenge every school year even without a pandemic.

“In our new reality of my school remote learning, it’s harder to get subs that are comfortable with the technology that could just pick up right where you left off from the day before,” said Howard. “That’s going to be troublesome.”

Another question teachers are asking is why is COVID-19 data for students not included in the weekly updates?

The district said it will happen by the end of the week. Hudspeth said officials needed time to perfect the system and get things rolling once school started.

“The data for students is going to look a little different because it is going to be students coming into our buildings,” said Hudspeth.

The data for COVID-19 in USD 259 is updated every Friday morning.

Click here to see the latest information from the district. You can also access job openings for the school district from that link.

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