January 20, 2022
Dear parents and guardians,
The current surge in the omicron variant is creating immense pressure on our schools and staff members as we work to keep classrooms staffed and in-person learning possible.
To help alleviate some of the pressure on our schools, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), along with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), support schools implementing a 30-day temporary suspension on all contact tracing activities.
What does this mean for you as parents and guardians? Beginning Thursday, January 20, our district will no longer notify families whose child may have been in contact, through classroom or extracurricular settings, with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.
If you believe your child has been exposed to a positive case either at school or elsewhere, please monitor your child for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days after the exposure.
If your child is symptomatic, please contact our school nurses, and they can direct you on the best steps forward. Do not send your child to school if they are sick or if they test positive. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 should stay home for at least five days and be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before leaving home. After that, your child may resume normal activities but should wear a well-fitting mask around others for an additional five days. Please notify your school if your child tests positive.
You will find our COVID overview visual guide with updated protocols here.
If you have any questions regarding this change to school contact tracing protocols, please contact Ben Proctor at 620-327-4931 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about this guidance change, visit https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/283/Education-K-12.
Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this challenging time for our schools and communities. We will continue to keep you informed as guidance changes are announced.
Ben Proctor, Superintendent
January 13, 2022
We want to make you aware of adjustments to our COVID protocols, which reflect recent changes made by the CDC and KDHE. The most significant changes address isolation and quarantine periods, along with some slight adjustments to our school-based testing program.
Isolation is the term used to describe the period of time when an individual must remain home after testing positive for COVID-19. Quarantine pertains to an individual who is a close contact of a positive case. The CDC and KDHE now recommend 5 day isolation and quarantine periods when an individual is asymptomatic, and we will follow that new guidance as of January 13.
This means if a student or staff member tests positive, he or she may return to school on Day 6, as long as there are no symptoms, and you have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Additionally, if a student or staff member is identified as a school-based close contact, he or she may exit quarantine on Day 6, as long as there are no symptoms. We will continue to operate a modified quarantine option so students may remain in school during this period. A student or staff member in modified quarantine will be able to remain in school each day, testing approximately every other day, and should wear a well-fitting mask during the quarantine period.
We identify Day 1 as the day after the onset of symptoms (first day of symptoms is Day Zero). If there are no symptoms, Day 1 is the day after the positive test (day of positive test is Day Zero). For close contacts, Day 1 of quarantine is the day after the last day of contact with the positive case (day of close contact is Day Zero). For those who fall into these categories over the past few days, below you will see a return date that corresponds with the day after symptoms, a positive test, or contact with a positive case. You may return based on the guide below as long as there are no symptoms, and there is no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. A mask should be worn for an additional five days.
There are different recommendations for household close contacts. Generally speaking, if someone in the household has tested positive, the close contacts in the house should quarantine for 10 days at home. There may be some circumstances that will allow a household close contact to return to school sooner, and our nurses will work with families on specific circumstances related to household close contacts. Vaccinated close contacts may remain in school wearing a mask, as long as symptoms do not develop.
Linked here you will find a visual guide that details our new COVID protocols for any positive case or close contact. We hope you find it helpful, but please do not hesitate to reach out to me or one of our school nurses, Tammi Krehbiel (email@example.com) or DeeDee Landes (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions.
On a related note, you will find an update on the district’s use of past and future COVID-relief dollars by viewing the January 4 update below. Please share any feedback you have on this topic by emailing email@example.com.
Thank you, as always, for the incredible opportunity to serve this community and to support the children of Hesston. We live in a special place and are blessed with a wonderful school staff who care deeply about kids. We’re looking forward to the new semester, and we are excited about the opportunities to come.
Ben Proctor, Superintendent
January 4, 2022
Since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, our district has applied for and received a considerable amount of COVID relief dollars. These funds have been used to improve technology, provide nursing support services, improve air filtration systems, and much more to ensure our kids are able to attend school each day.
We are currently applying for a final round of funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER) III. As part of that application process, we are asking for feedback from the community on how we utilize these funds.
Our plan includes continuing to pay for additional nursing supports, and we would also like to provide additional mental health support for our students and staff. This includes adding counseling services through both an additional school counselor and clinical supports through our partners at Prairie View. We also want to continue to invest in curriculum that encourages the social and emotional development of our students, which we have done through Character Strong.
According to the guidelines to apply for ESSER III funds, 20% of the dollars must go towards addressing learning loss experienced since the start of the pandemic. Although we have not seen significant evidence of learning loss since we've been able to maintain in-person school each day, there are investments we would like to make to maximize how we support our students and their academic progress. This includes both curriculum improvements and personnel who can support academic gains of our students.
Please share any thoughts you have on how we can best utilize our ESSER III dollars in a way that maximizes the success of our students and staff in USD 460. Our goal is to complete our application in January 2022. You can reach me at 620-327-4931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share ideas on this topic or any other school district related matter.
Ben Proctor, Superintendent