SMSD News: Information on COVID-19

The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) has a comprehensive plan in place to manage potential outbreaks of infectious diseases. The district has brought together a task force to update that plan with specifics related to the Coronavirus or COVID-19, working closely with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE). Currently there are no identified cases of COVID-19 in Kansas, but the district is being proactive.

Many people are asking if/when schools may close. This decision would be made in conjunction with JCDHE and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). If it becomes necessary to close schools, all families and employees would be made aware of the plans as we receive notification from the county and state health departments.

The following statement is from the JCDHE:

Even though the risk of this new virus to Johnson County, Kansas residents is low at this time, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Preparedness Program Manager Steve Maheux says the health department is working closely with its partners across the healthcare system to evaluate the coronavirus outbreak and putting protective measures in place wherever possible.

The measures include: staying up-to-date on the latest state and federal guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; securing enough personal protective equipment (PPE) if an outbreak occurs in the community; using existing tools to receive alerts if/when high risk patients present at hospitals; and educating the public on risk and prevention.

When dealing with exposure, it is only the person with the direct exposure to a positive COVID-19 case that is required to quarantine. Others in the home may function normally unless they develop symptoms. At which time they should self-quarantine and call their doctor.

Currently, the district is following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 (below). The district will continue to monitor developments and will revise the district response/pandemic plan as appropriate.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. There are many ways to protect our immune systems: eat nutritious foods, get enough sleep, hydrate, and decrease stress.

The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.