Johnson County, KS health department issues back-to-school guidance to districts

Alonzo Osche

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said it has issued a letter on COVID-19 back-to-school guidance to school district superintendents.County health officials said the primary goal is to keep schools open so that children can learn and benefit from interactions with others.”Although transmission of the virus has decreased substantially compared to this time last year, we must remain vigilant,” said Dr. Sanmi Areola, JCDHE director. “We are starting to see concerning increases in cases. We want a return to normalcy, but we need to be cautious and get vaccinated if eligible.”The guidance includes four primary mitigation strategies: Promote vaccination. Require indoor mask wearing among those who are not fully vaccinated. Exclude persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. Exclude close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The health department said the strategies are consistent with the recently updated K-12 school guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC issued guidance allowing for most people who have been fully vaccinated to resume activities they did prior to the pandemic. However, substantial risks remain to those who are not fully vaccinated, including children under age 12 years for whom there is no currently authorized vaccine. The highly contagious delta variant is now the dominant strain in Johnson County, the health department said. Less than 40{20335960d828ac45ef5fde98a5aa7f4c1fb21de0715bafc997f46433d5bf3454} of children aged 12-17 years in Johnson County have been fully vaccinated. Health officials said wearing a mask is a critical element of student and staff safety in school buildings. Analysis of data from the 2020-21 school year demonstrates the effectiveness of mask wearing, including during full, in-person learning.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said it has issued a letter on COVID-19 back-to-school guidance to school district superintendents.

County health officials said the primary goal is to keep schools open so that children can learn and benefit from interactions with others.

“Although transmission of the virus has decreased substantially compared to this time last year, we must remain vigilant,” said Dr. Sanmi Areola, JCDHE director. “We are starting to see concerning increases in cases. We want a return to normalcy, but we need to be cautious and get vaccinated if eligible.”

The guidance includes four primary mitigation strategies:

  1. Promote vaccination.
  2. Require indoor mask wearing among those who are not fully vaccinated.
  3. Exclude persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  4. Exclude close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The health department said the strategies are consistent with the recently updated K-12 school guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC issued guidance allowing for most people who have been fully vaccinated to resume activities they did prior to the pandemic. However, substantial risks remain to those who are not fully vaccinated, including children under age 12 years for whom there is no currently authorized vaccine.

The highly contagious delta variant is now the dominant strain in Johnson County, the health department said. Less than 40{20335960d828ac45ef5fde98a5aa7f4c1fb21de0715bafc997f46433d5bf3454} of children aged 12-17 years in Johnson County have been fully vaccinated.

Health officials said wearing a mask is a critical element of student and staff safety in school buildings. Analysis of data from the 2020-21 school year demonstrates the effectiveness of mask wearing, including during full, in-person learning.

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