All systems are go for the Madison school system resuming in-person learning next week.

“We’re scheduled to come back, just like normal,” Superintendent Stephen Jowers said Wednesday.

He believes a COVID-19 outbreak in the area has subsided. Students are scheduled to return Thursday, after two teacher in-service workdays.

“We’re going to have a discussion at our in-service meetings ... about our mitigation plan and how we can make adjustments,” Jowers said.

The numbers in Madison earlier this month were concerning.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 32 “presumed student cases” in USD 386 in the two-week period of December 9-22. That was up from 27 in the period from December 2-15, translating to about 15% of the student body.

On Thursday, December 22, the Greenwood County Health Department counted 17 new COVID-19 cases in the Madison area and one in the Virgil area. The Eureka Herald reported seven of those cases involved children younger than 10.

Despite the outbreak, Madison and USD 386 stayed off the KDHE list of COVID-19 cluster spots in recent weeks. Other Emporia-area schools did not.

The joker card in Jowers’s January plan is whether winter break trips to see relatives and friends make the virus problem even worse.

“We’ll see if they test positive, and we’ll do contact tracing,” Jowers said, doing “our mitigation plan like we did before.”

Jowers switched the district to home-bound learning for three days leading to winter break, December 15-17. He explained that was not only due to student illness, but a coronavirus outbreak among staff members.

“I feel pretty confident now that most, if not all, of our staff are over it,” Jowers said. He noted no adults connected with the district needed to be hospitalized, and many developed only mild symptoms.

The Madison High School basketball teams will get a head start on the rest of the student body. They have games scheduled Tuesday at Marais des Cygnes Valley in Melvern.

(1) comment

Rationa1

Prayers that everyone in Madison is recovering fully and well.

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