Crawford County Public Schools closed for extended spring break over COVID-19 concerns

District superintendents attend special county commission meeting

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – All public schools in Crawford County are closed for the next two weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to give them time to create a comprehensive plan.

This includes Girard, Pittsburg, Southeast, and all other public schools in the county.

Some districts, like Pittsburg, are doing curbside pickup for lunches. Others, like Girard, are still working on exactly how they will do it.

“That is something we’re going to discuss as a district. There’s two rules of thumb on that, we couldn’t do anything until tomorrow at the earliest, every school district that I’ve talked to, nobody is sending out food the following week on spring break. So, where do we beginning it? Where do we end it?” Says Girard Superintendent Blaise Bauer.

Those are a few things that were discussed during a special Crawford County commission meeting.

Rebecca Adamson with the Crawford County Health Department gave an update to schools and the county commission on the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Monday, March 16th, the health department has 37 testing kits. They have to be authorized for use by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Adamson says as of 5:10 pm on March 16th, there are six residents that are under investigation. All six of them have been tested, and those kits have been sent to the state, but results are not back yet.

“We are testing at the health department. If someone thinks that they could have been exposed or if they’ve traveled to one of the areas and developed a fever (of more than 100.4) and flue like symptoms, we request that they call first. We will get them to a nurse and they will go through the checklist with them, and then we do have to contact KDHE to get testing approved,” says Adamson.

Adamson also told county officials and superintendents about new guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding travel, quarantine and isolation.

KDHE is now recommending 14-day home quarantine for Kansas who have traveled to California, New York, Washington state, and Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, and Gunnison counties in Colorado. It also includes those who have traveled internationally on or after March 15th.

Superintendents are being asked to tell parents about the new guidance, so they can let the health department if they have traveled so they can be monitored by the health department.

“We would monitor them for 14 days, Public health will make contact, so someone with the health department will contact that person. And then we’ll periodically be calling them and checking on them. The person in quarantine will take their temperature twice a day, and if they would develop a temperature or symptoms, we could coordinate testing through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment,” says Adamson.

“The one that really concerns us is our neighboring state, which is Colorado,” says Commissioner Tom Moody.

The county commission is looking at a way they could enact that guidance at a county level.

The county commission also looking at how they may be able to enact the DC’s new recommendation that events of more than 50 people be canceled. They hope to discuss that in more detail during their meeting on March 17th.

“Right now it’s just recommendations, but if things would happen to get worse, then we’ll look at other avenues to take to enforce this,” says Moody.

A thought that’s creating uncertainty for local school districts.

“Right now for two weeks, that’s not a problem for us. Now, when we come back, that could be another challenge we’ll have to address if we’re allowed to come back that third week. But, you know, we’ll just deal with it a day at a time. Like I said, it is what it is, we’re all working together we’re just gonna make the best of it,” says Bauer.