COVID Update - July 31, 2020
I want to address a controversial topic—facemasks—and give our parents insight into our planning. A link for a parent survey (parents of K-4th students) will be sent by text. I will share the results of the survey with our BOE.
The survey will be one important data point. Ultimately, we want to do what we believe is best for helping our students grow the most they can—that’s not a simple equation. We have reviewed the guidance from the Kansas COVID Workgroup for Kids (KU Wichita Pediatrics & KS American Academy of Pediatrics--KCWK). That document is available on our COVID19 tab. The answers are not always cut and dried--multiple factors can lead to some variance on the experts’ opinions regarding various mitigation strategies. There is a solid consensus among this group that the local burden (number of active cases) regarding the pandemic matters—but there are no exact metrics at this time. There is a solid consensus that masks at Grades 5-12 (if indoors and unable to distance 6 feet or more) offer significant mitigation. There is a recognition by this group that the mitigation benefits for ages PreK-4th are more uncertain due to multiple factors, but they ultimately recommend masks for students K-12. Please take a look at the guidance for more details. I specifically asked the KCWK group about the two scenarios in our survey question (yes, the survey questions are long in order to give enough detail) and received varying individual responses. Ultimately, though, the group stuck to the current consensus that masks at K-12 was an important mitigation when 6-foot social distancing is not achievable.
Bottom line, while Executive Order 20-59 is in place, we know that we will require students to wear masks for significant chunks of time. We will incorporate breaks and work within the parameters set by our local health professionals and continue to work with our local Health Department to make sure our most significant operational guidelines get a thumbs up. EO 20-59 expires on September 15th, and we will adapt to our “local burden” as outlined in the KCWK’s document. I believe Kansans and Prattans will work together and knock our numbers of active cases down and we can operate in the Green or Green + Zones.
I know there is heated debate on both sides of this particular question. But, we all agree we want to do what is best for kids. We need strong leadership from our parents to bring out the best in our kids. They are tough. Our kids have won state championships and finished near the top many times in many activities. They did that by outworking their competition, pulling together, and making sacrifices for each other. We will do that here.
I am meeting with a group of local doctors to review the big items in our planning and the KCWK document. Please review the document. There will continue to be adaptation to our situation.
Pratt Schools USD 382