A Lawrence school has landed on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s list of coronavirus clusters. KDHE on Wednesday placed Quail Run Elementary, 1130 Inverness Drive, on its public listing of active outbreaks along with eight other Kansas schools.
KDHE’s database shows five cases within the previous 14 days at Quail Run with the last onset date of symptoms as Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The agency’s policy states that “Once a location no longer has five or more cases with symptom onset dates within the last 14 days, it will be removed from the list.” Citing privacy reasons, KDHE excludes some locations. No other cluster sites were identified in Douglas County.
As of Thursday morning, Lawrence Public Schools’ webpage of reported COVID-19 cases shows eight positive cases among students and staff this school year at Quail Run, with the first dating back to Saturday, Aug. 28. The most recent cases reported are two students on Friday, Sept. 3.
The Times continues to update its searchable database of reported cases in the school district and can be found in the COVID-19 statistics dashboard. A total of 73 cases have been reported across the Lawrence school district, including 66 youth and seven adults or staff members. The highest numbers in the school district have come from New York Elementary, which recorded 12 positive cases among students between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, but it wasn’t listed as a cluster site.
The Kansas Reflector reported Tuesday that KDHE’s data on school infections was “unreliable because of the difficulty in tracing sources of infections and communication between the agency and local health officials.” Although local health departments identify outbreak sources, the surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious delta variant, plus restrictions passed by the Kansas Legislature that allow infected Kansans to opt out of contract tracing, make contact tracing more challenging. And with widespread community transmission, it can be difficult to determine whether children were infected at school or somewhere else.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced last week the formation of the Safer Classes Workgroup made up of pediatricians, family physicians, school nurses, pharmacists, school psychologists and other health professionals. A statement from the governor said the group would meet weekly and release a School Safety Report. The statement did not give a launch date for the weekly update.
“We got our kids back in school by listening to health professionals, wearing masks, implementing stringent public health protocol, and getting vaccinated,” Kelly said. “We’ll keep them there by continuing to follow the best health practices. I encourage all Kansans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Those 12 and older who are eligible to receive the free COVID-19 vaccine can visit Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, 200 Maine St., on a walk-in basis from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Tuesday, walk-in appointments are available from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Individuals will receive notice to return for their second dose 21 days after the initial dose. Find out more about where to get the vaccine at this link.