Ahead of Thursday’s regular Board of County Commissioners meeting, a group of nine Johnson County mayors is urging commissioners to take countywide action to help tamp spread of the Omicron variant.
In a letter addressed to the commission Wednesday, the mayors say that though cities have taken their own steps to try to mitigate spread, “additional prompt action is needed by the [county] to assist our cities in weathering this latest and strongest COVID surge.”
Particularly, the mayors say their cities need:
- increased testing capabilities,
- “further education” on the importance of vaccines and boosters
- and access to higher quality N95 and KN95 face masks.
The letter does not call for a new countywide mask mandate.
“While it is our sincere hope that Omicron will ‘peak’ soon and cases will begin trending downward, things are unfortunately likely to get worse before they get better,” the letter says.
The letter is signed by nine mayors, representing mostly smaller cities in northeast Johnson County, but also includes Curt Skoog, mayor of Overland Park, the county’s biggest city.
The signatories include:
- Peggy Dunn, Leawood
- Sollie Flora, Mission
- Darrell Franklin, Mission Woods
- Mike Kelly, Roeland Park
- Eric Mikkelson, Prairie Village
- Bob Pape, Merriam
- Paula Schwach, Westwood Hills
- Curt Skoog, Overland Park
- David Waters, Westwood
School mask order up for discussion
The measures the mayors propose in their letter are not part of any proposed agenda item that’s before the commission Thursday.
Instead, commissioners are set to discuss whether to keep in place a public health order that requires masks be worn in all schools serving up to and including 6th graders.
That order has been the focus of intense debate in recent weeks, as some residents and elected officials have called for its end, while many doctors and other elected officials have called for broader mask rules covering all schools.
A large crowd is expected at Thursday’s meeting.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says it will limit seating in the board’s chambers to media only and set aside four separate conference rooms for attendees to watch through a video feed.
The county administrative building’s cafeteria will also be reserved as an overflow area, according to the sheriff’s office.
Read the mayors’ letter below: