Emporia Public Schools District informed some parents that classes at Walnut Elementary School would be shifted to remote-only next week due to COVID exposures, Friday. 

"Based on two or more cases being linked by time and location, Lyon County Public Health will consider the cases at Walnut Elementary a school based cluster," the district announced on its COVID-19 dashboard. "Parents of on-site kindergarten classes and one third grade classroom at Walnut Elementary were notified that their instruction would move to remote learning for next week.

"All on-site students at Walnut will receive a parent letter in their backpack asking them to monitor their child’s health and to be vigilant in wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hygiene."

The news came as Lyon County Public Health officials reported 12 new positives and nine recoveries, bringing the county's active cases back up to 92.

The district reported five new cases among district staff — three in PreK - 5, on at the 6 - 12 level and one positive among K-12 district support staff — for the week ending Sept. 11, with 10 staff members in quarantine. 

One new student was listed as positive with another five students in quarantine. 

The district's COVID dashboard can be found at www.usd253.org/dashboard. It is updated every Friday. 

Overall, 971 cases have been reported since March, including 859 recoveries and 19 deaths. As of Thursday, 16 death certificates were pending review at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. 

The health department has reported that 6,019 tests have been conducted in Lyon County since March.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness Director Jennifer Millbern said that does not mean 6,019 people in the county have been tested, but rather that 6,019 tests have been conducted.

"The reason for that is people can be tested for this virus more than once," she said, noting that the health department has seen that happen several times over the course of the pandemic so far.

What the health department does not do is count multiple positive tests from one person as more than one case of COVID-19. Each positive test is given a case number, Millbern said, and if a person tests positive more than once the those positives are attached to that case number.

The exception, she said, would be if a person had tested positive for COVID-19, recovered and then was reinfected with the virus more than four months later.

That has happened here in Lyon County, Millbern said.

While Millbern wasn't sure of the exact number of unique people who have been tested since March, she said the number was close to 6,000.

She said the health department is looking at ways to update it's reporting system to better reflect the school district's gating criteria, as well as other information the public may want, such as case positivity rates.

Emporia State University, which was listed as an active cluster by KDHE earlier this week, reported a total of 44 students were tested at the ESU Student Health Center this week. Seven of those tests were positive. 

Out of 128 group tests that were conducted, four positives were confirmed. 

The university has four students in on-campus isolation housing, one student in on-campus quarantine housing. 

Overall, the university has conducted a total of 444 tests — symptomatic and group tests — since Aug. 17. 

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