WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — School districts in Kansas are seeing an increase in testing as the spring semester gets underway, as many districts in the area are navigating staff quarantines while more students are testing positive.
As cases all across Kansas are on the rise, so are those in schools. 399 staff members have had to quarantine due to a large spike in COVID-19 cases at Wichita Public Schools.
“We’re doing as much as we can in person. We’re using substitutes as much as we can. Also if necessary, we’re going to combine classes, use staff from other areas in order to cover classrooms,” said Terri Moses, Wichita Public Schools director of Safety and Environmental services.
The school district reported 155 student cases and 172 staff member cases but said masks are making a difference.
“That’s one of the things that we think have been very effective for us is to keep masks in our schools and on our classrooms. And so that when we do have somebody who has COVID, there’s less likely that transmission is taking place,” said Moses.
Some parents in other schools, however, expressed concern that their districts do not have a mask mandate.
“We’ve only been back in school for a couple of days. My oldest was a close contact on the first day. He’s one of a few kids in his school that wears a mask,” said Liz Mamor, a parent.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Newton Public Schools said cases there remain average with 34 student cases and 12 staff cases this week.
In Derby, a recent spike after winter break with 36 staff members out with covid and 120 students. Other districts in the area have yet to release their reports.
“It’s very frustrating. I think as a parent court we feel like we’re doing all of the responsible things right? You don’t say like right or wrong necessarily, but they’re responsible things for our family and to protect other people,” said Hamor.
With the hundreds of staff members out because of COVID, Moses said the district is in need of substitute teachers.
For more information on how to get involved, or to apply, you can visit the USD 259 website by clicking here.