KCK schools to provide curbside meals for children

The Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools will provide curbside pickup meals for children in the district starting Monday, March 23.

It will be a program similar to the summer lunch program, where sack lunches or boxed lunches are given to schoolchildren, said Edwin Birch, spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools. The school buildings will be closed for the rest of the semester, according to a state emergency order in response to COVID-19.

There will be four locations to pick up the meals, and parents must have their schoolchildren with them, Birch said. There is no charge. The pickup times are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The school district’s kitchen will make the lunches, and the program is funded through the USDA, the same way as the summer lunch program. It will be curbside pickup in order to promote personal health and social distancing.

The four locations include Arrowhead Middle School, 1715 N. 82nd St., Wyandotte High School, 2501 Minnesota Ave.; Schlagle High School, 2214 N. 59th St., and Harmon High School, 2400 Steele Road.

According to school district information, families without transportation will still be able to use the meal distribution program, but will be required to stand six feet apart. KCKPS police officers and staff will be present and will provide instructions.


Birch said the KCKPS Board of Education met this morning, discussed and authorized the meal program.


“We’re still in conversation about the continuous learning plan and what that will look like,” he said.

While students are at home during COVID-19, an educational program will continue at home. There is some discussion about online learning and sessions of small groups of under 10.


“Nothing has been decided yet,” Birch said. He added it was likely that there will be a plan presented in the next 24 to 48 hours.

He said the KCK school district wants parents and students to know that the district will continue the learning process as much as possible.

“These are difficult and trying times for everybody,” he said. “Everybody is affected by this. People are very resilient; we’ll get through this together.

He also said he liked how all the agencies are working closely together, including the schools, BPU, UG, local state representatives, Wyandotte County delegation, governor and Kansas state board of education.


The district is currently on spring break. With orders to keep groups under 10, some school district personnel are working from home, he added.

KDHE: Quarantines to become mandatory

Note: the KDHE has issued a statement on March 19 stating the rules do not apply to public health. See http://wyandottedaily.com/states-new-quarantine-rules-do-not-apply-to-public-health-pharmaceutical-and-food-supply/

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is issuing new mandates today surrounding COVID-19, including travelers, close contacts of confirmed cases and those being tested, according to a news release.


KDHE is now mandating 14-day home quarantine for Kansans who have:
• Traveled to a state with known widespread community transmission (currently California, Florida, New York and Washington state) on or after March 15.

• Visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado in the week prior to March 15 or after.

• Traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15.
o People who have previously been told by Public Health to quarantine because of their cruise ship travel should finish out their quarantine.

• Traveled internationally on or after March 15.
o People who have previously been told by Public Health to quarantine because of their international travel to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran should finish out their quarantine.

• Received notification from public health officials (state or local) that you are a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. You should quarantine at home for 14 days since your last contact with the case. (A close contact is defined as someone who has been closer than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes while the patient is symptomatic.)

There is no need for returning travelers to notify KDHE about their return. Information on COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and states with community transmission can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Home quarantine guidelines
Those who are under home quarantine should not attend school, work or any other setting where they are not able to maintain at about a 6-foot distance from other people.


If a person under quarantine develops symptoms of COVID-19 during their 14-day quarantine period, including a measured fever of 100.4 (F) or higher and lower respiratory symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath, they should contact their healthcare provider and tell them about their recent travel or other COVID-19 exposure.

Testing for COVID-19

Healthcare providers should evaluate exposure history and symptoms and call KDHE if COVID-19 is suspected. COVID-19 is a reportable condition in Kansas and all suspect cases should be reported by healthcare providers. COVID-19 testing requests can only be made by healthcare providers and local health departments.

In counties with known community transmission, currently Johnson County, testing will be limited to people hospitalized with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Johnson County residents with mild symptoms should isolate at home and away from others for at least seven days after symptoms started or for 72 hours after fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medications and symptoms have significantly improved, whichever is longer.

Anyone with more severe symptoms should call their healthcare provider. Individuals who have mild symptoms should not expect to be tested at this time. Testing needs to be prioritized to the sickest patients who are seriously ill and require admission to the hospital. Excessive testing of patients with minor symptoms may put too much strain on laboratories and hospital resources. Since there is no treatment currently for COVID-19 testing patients with mild illness needs to be a lower priority.

People who are currently being tested for COVID-19 should remain in home isolation, or hospital isolation if symptoms are severe enough to be hospitalized, until test results are available. If the test result is negative, isolation is no longer required. If test results are positive for COVID-19, the person must remain in isolation until released by public health.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid spreading the virus and to avoid being exposed to the virus. The virus is thought to spread between people who are within about 6 feet of each other for at least 10 minutes through droplets from coughing and sneezing.

To reduce risk, everyone should:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Cover coughs and sneezes.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces daily.

Local enforcement
The state health department did not say how it would enforce the mandatory quarantines. However, the Unified Government Commission has an item on its agenda for 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19, that would make it a misdemeanor not to follow a written directive from the health officer or the Board of Health.

For more information, visit the KDHE website at www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus. KDHE has a phone bank that is staffed Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. The phone number is 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF). KDHE also has an email address for general inquiries, COVID-19@ks.gov. These contacts are for general questions and cannot provide you with medical evaluations. If you are feeling ill, please stay home and call your healthcare provider.

UG Commission to hold special session Thursday on COVID-19 and emergency declaration

The Unified Government Commission will hold a special session at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the fifth floor meeting room, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas.

The commission will decide whether to extend the emergency declaration and may take other action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the meeting notice.

Afterward, the UG Commission will convene as the Board of Health for an update on COVID-19 and take action as necessary, the meeting notice stated.

The meeting can be seen on UGTV on Spectrum Cable Channel 2, in HD on Google Fiber Channel 141, online at www.wycokck.org, and on YouTube.

The proposed resolution would extend the state of emergency through May 18, 2020. A state of emergency was declared here on March 13. At a recent discussion, Mayor David Alvey said the state of emergency allows the Unified Government to access resources that are needed from the state or federal level.

The UG Commission also will consider an amendment to the UG’s ordinances concerning violation of the orders of the health officer or Board of Health.

The proposed amendment reads, “(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to violate, refuse, or fail to comply with a written order of the Health Officer, Board of Health, or Director of Health issued under their respective authorities. (b) A violation this section is a class C misdemeanor.”

Another resolution on the agenda would authorize the county coroner or the UG administrator to appoint one or more deputy coroners if necessary.

Then, the UG Commission will meet as the Board of Health. During that time, the board will hear an update on COVID-19 by Terrie Garrison, interim director of the UG Health Department.

Also, the Board of Health will consider a resolution to ratify and support the emergency public health orders issued by Dr. Allen Greiner, chief medical officer, on March 16 and March 17. Those orders restricted gatherings to 10 or fewer, and also closed restaurants, bars, taverns, movie theaters and casinos. The establishments could continue providing takeout food, but sit-down dining was eliminated to try to reduce gatherings and the spread of COVID-19.

The agenda is online at https://www.wycokck.org/Clerk/Agendas.aspx.