Johnson County directs public schools to close through April 3

Note: The Shawnee Mission Post is making all coverage of the coronavirus pandemic accessible to non-subscribers. (If you value having a local news source covering the situation in our community, we hope you’ll consider subscribing here).

Johnson County Public Health Officer Joseph LeMaster, MD, this afternoon signed an emergency order for schools to close through April 3 in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19.

There will be a news conference Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. with additional details on the decision and closure.

The Shawnee Mission School District sent a message to parents shortly after the emergency order went out saying that the district is “engaged in planning on how to manage this closure, including contingencies for how to respond if the closure extends beyond April 3.”

The message continued:

In the meantime, we are currently working on meal distribution for children in need and will share that in a future communication. Staff will continue to be paid and will receive expectations for work after the conclusion of spring break.

There is much we do not know, but we will be working tirelessly over the next few days to prepare for the possibility of an extended closure and will continue to communicate regularly as plans develop.

We recognize the challenges that this closure presents for families and students but are in agreement with JCDHE that this closure is in the best interest of students in our district. Meanwhile, please follow all advice from public health advocates in order to keep yourself and your family safe. This includes taking the idea of social distancing seriously and keeping yourself and your children away from group gatherings.