Topeka Public Schools suspends all classroom and extracurricular activities until March 29, 2020.
Dear Topeka Public Schools Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
The safety of our students and staff is our first priority. As we shared in our last correspondence today, the impact and information about COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. Topeka Public Schools has closely monitored the situation and we remain in contact with the Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
Schools will suspend all classroom and extracurricular activities through March 29, 2020.
The health department will assess if schools can reopen after March 29, 2020. We recognize the impact this may have on families and staff and we will do what we can to assist while we also comply with the order in support of ensuring the health and safety of students. We have been working with partner agencies in the event of schools being closed and the Topeka Rescue Mission and other local agencies are partnering to assist us with providing some meal assistance to families in need that they also serve. Additionally, district staff will meet on Monday to coordinate other available resources in support of Topeka families and staff. Further details will be provided Monday regarding additional support systems and resources the district will have in place.
The Shawnee County Health Department has the authority to suspend all classroom activities when there is a county health issue and this evening they have issued the following order:
Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer, has ordered that all Shawnee County School Districts suspend classroom and extracurricular activities for two weeks (which is the estimated maximum incubation period for the virus), starting on Monday, March 16, as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. Early action to slow the spread of COVID-19 is a proactive approach to help keep staff, students, and the entire Topeka and Shawnee County community healthy. Schools can remain open and staff can report to school as needed. Schools represent an ideal environment for virus transmission due to the close contact of students and staff for prolonged periods of time. A large number of new infections within a short window of time (initiated by students and faculty unknowingly infected during their travels) could result from this situation and would potentially cause a large increase of cases in our community and put a strain on the ability of our public health and healthcare infrastructure to respond adequately. At the end of the two-week period, public health and school officials will reevaluate the situation. Please remember that 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.
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. Additional information about COVID-19 is on the Topeka Public schools web page at www.topekapublicschools.net, you can also read more in the Capital Journal's web story by clicking here.