WELLINGTON, Kan. (KSNW) – The superintendent of Wellington School District, USD 353, is explaining why the district has temporarily closed schools. He says it started with at least 40 coronavirus cases in the first eight days of school.

Eisenhower, Wellington Middle School, and Wellington High School had the highest number of cases and were deemed official outbreak schools. As a result, the Sumner County Health Department recommended closing them.

By the end of the school day Thursday, the district was testing more than 200 students a day, and positive numbers were rising.

“Through contact tracing, we realized that there were many positive cases sharing households within all of our schools,” Superintendent Adam Hatfield said in a statement. “It was only a matter of time before numbers went up in all of our schools to official outbreak levels. So, the decision was made to temporarily shut down all schools.”

In addition to the temporary closing of schools that started Friday, the district has suspended sports practices and other school-related events. The goal is to have schools reopen on September 7.

“It is our hope that the temporary shut down will allow the virus incubation period to run its course,” Hatfield said. “In the meantime, we are reviewing policy and consulting with our medical staff in order to make sure we are doing all we can to reopen schools safely on September 7th.”

He says the school district is working diligently to make adjustments for the rest of the school year. The district will put updates on its website and send text alerts over the next few days.

Hatfield ended his update with this statement:

I encourage you to please talk to your healthcare provider for recommendations on ways you
can help keep our community healthy and safe, therefore keeping our schools open.”

Adam Hatfield, Superintendent, USD 353