Shawnee Mission police will issue citations for large groups, team sports on school property

Some people played soccer on Thursday afternoon on the fields of Hocker Grove Middle, an activity prohibited by the Shawnee Mission School District under the state and local restrictions related to the COVID-19 crisis.

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After multiple reports of people gathering in groups to play sports on school property, the Shawnee Mission School District announced that school police will begin issuing trespassing citations this week.

The school district pushed out the notice on Wednesday evening, citing reports of numerous complaints of large groups playing organized sports on Shawnee Mission fields.

Physical distancing of at least 6 feet, as well as a limit of 10 people in one place, are part of the restrictions imposed by state and local authorities in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Groups of 10 or more people, close contact of less than 6 feet, and sports in which multiple people touch a common object (like a ball or bat) “all present opportunities for transmission” of the coronavirus, the district wrote.

“Again, these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are designed to minimize the potential for additional transmission of the virus,” the email read. “The SMSD is committed to keeping our community safe. These guidelines only work if ALL of us adhere to them, and unfortunately, that is not happening.”

Shawnee Mission police may begin issuing trespassing citations Thursday for people “who continue to violate guidelines for use of district stadiums and athletic facilities.”

“This is a step that we would have preferred not to take, but given the on-going lack of adherence to personal distancing guidelines, it has become necessary,” the district wrote.

  • Stadiums and athletic facilities in the school district will continue to remain open for now, so that people can still use them for exercise and outdoor activities, but they must follow these guidelines:
  • Personal distancing guidelines must be strictly adhered to (6 feet of distance from any individual not in the same household)
  • No groups of more than 10 people
  • No team sports. Team sport include but are not limited to:
    • Football
    • Basketball
    • Baseball
    • Soccer
    • Frisbee​​​​​​​

The district plans to continue monitoring facilities to ensure compliance, and may revise the above guidelines “if necessary, in order to protect public health.”