A new online dashboard from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment shows the number of COVID-19 cases public school districts are dealing with and also details students’ vaccination rates.
KDHE unveiled the dashboard late last week, and the department says it plans to update the data for districts across the state each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“This information aims to provide transparency on school-aged COVID-19 cases and vaccine information and is intended to allow our school communities to monitor the impact of the virus on their school districts,” the dashboard’s introduction reads.
KDHE says the data reflects cases and vaccinations of school-aged children who attend schools within a district’s boundaries, determined by individuals’ home addresses.
Some children may not be included in the aggregated data, including children who are homeschooled and children who attend private school outside the boundaries of the public school district in which they live.
As of Wednesday, here are the figures for the six public school districts in Johnson County:
These numbers represent cases reported between Sept. 16 and Sept. 29 and are not cumulative case counts for these districts.
The most recent five school days are not included, KDHE says, because that data is expected to be incomplete.
- Shawnee Mission: 5.1 cases per 1,000 students (130 total presumed cases)
- Blue Valley: 2.73 cases per 1,000 students (60 total presumed cases)
- USD 232 in De Soto: 4.29 per 1,000 students (30 total presumed cases)
- Olathe: 4.86 per 1,000 students (137 total presumed cases)
- Gardner-Edgerton: 4.59 per 1,000 students (26 total presumed cases)
- Spring Hill: 1.41 cases per 1,000 students (8 total presumed cases)
This data comes from the Kansas Immunization Registry, which vaccine providers are required by law to report to when they administer vaccines to individuals.
However, KDHE says these figures do not include vaccinations administered outside of Kansas or through federal partnerships.
In addition, students 12 and younger remain ineligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Shawnee Mission: 336.3 per 1,000 students (8,575 total students presumed to have been vaccinated)
- Blue Valley: 297 per 1,000 students (6,539 total students presumed to have been vaccinated)
- USD 232 in De Soto: 295.1 per 1,000 students (2,063 total students presumed to have been vaccinated)
- Olathe: 308.3 per 1,000 students (8,684 total students presumed to have been vaccinated)
- Gardner-Edgerton: 234.5 per 1,000 students (1,328 total students presumed to have been vaccinated)
- Spring Hill: 121.8 per 1,000 students (690 total students presumed to have been vaccinated)
Spring Hill numbers decline
Over the last two weeks, there has been a significant decline in the number of reported cases in the Spring Hill school district in southern Johnson County.
Spring Hill remains the only public school district in the county that has not instituted a universal mask rule for all students.
Following the county, the district requires masks for students up to grade 8 but only encourages masks for high schoolers.
Spring Hill also allows families to request exemptions for masks without presenting a doctor’s note. The district reports it has so far granted 501 mask exemptions to students in grades K-8.
In the first week of September, Spring Hill reported the highest COVID-19 case rate of any district in Johnson County, with 15.47 cases per 1,000 students, which was more than five times the countywide average at that time.
That prompted the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to issue a letter to the district, saying officials were concerned with those early trends.
Since then, the district’s figures have steadily dropped and the district now boasts the lowest COVID-19 case rate of Johnson County’s six public school districts.
The numbers reported by KDHE are different from the most recent data reported by JCDHE, which last reported that Spring Hill’s COVID-19 rate was around 5 students per 1,000.
JCDHE deputy director Charlie Hunt provided the following statement when asked to explain that discrepancy:
“School districts report cases to JCDHE each week. For the week ending 9/29/21, there were 18 cases reported [in Spring Hill.] Preliminary data for the week ending 10/2 show that there are eight reported cases. [Which would match KDHE’s latest figure.] KDHE and JCDHE have differences in reporting. KDHE uses a 14-day timeframe and there is a lag in the data they publish on their dashboard. JCDHE uses a 7-day timeframe. The enrolled student population that is used as the denominator to provide an incidence rate also differs, which would account for a difference in case rates. JCDHE uses the onsite enrollment number, while the number KDHE uses includes students enrolled in the Spring Hill district virtual school. Any way you look at it, the good news is that the number of cases are declining, and that is great for our community.”