A Message on Coronavirus
Dear Topeka Public Schools Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
The safety of our students and staff is our first priority. As spring break nears an end, we are monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in partnership with local health officials. We will follow the guidance and expertise of the Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as we implement steps to address the health and safety of our students and staff.
While the situation is rapidly evolving, at this time local health officials have reported the risk to the general public remains low, and there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission locally. However, Topeka Public Schools will still closely monitor the situation and stay in contact with the Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and will follow their guidance regarding any school closures or quarantines if they suggest those occur. At this time, the health department has not closed schools.
The Shawnee County Health Department has the authority to close public schools and they have not closed schools or recommended that schools close. Based on the guidance of local and state health agencies, at this time, school for students will resume on, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. KDHE has advised that any students or staff who traveled out of the country over spring break are being asked to contact the Shawnee County Health Department at 785.806.6297 for guidance prior to returning to school. If the health department determines a need to close schools at anytime in the future, we will be prepared to close and parents should plan accordingly in the event that occurs.
Additionally, if you or anyone in your home feels sick and has symptoms, please call your doctor or health care provider prior to going to the doctor’s office/emergency room.
In addition to the information above, all families should be reminded of the following illness prevention strategies, which are recommended by the Shawnee County Health Department:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;Avoid close contact with people who are sick;Stay home when you are sick;Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; andClean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we will continue to follow the lead of public health experts. During the break, a deep cleaning has taken place in all school buildings and on school buses. Additional hand sanitizer is being provided, frequent hand washing breaks will continue to occur when students return and ongoing communication will be provided to our families on our web page, through our blog and through social media. We have a resource page on our website about the virus and we are posting regular communication on this topic on our blog.
As a reminder, if at any time anyone in your family exhibits flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing), please contact your healthcare provider and follow up by notifying the school nurse or principal. For additional information on COVID-19, please go to the district website at www.topekapublicschools.net or CDC /KDHE websites.
As this matter continues to evolve, we remain prepared to be responsive and follow the guidance of the health department in addressing schools closing. We thank our public health officials for their guidance and we thank you for your cooperation as we work in partnership with our county health experts to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.