COTTONWOOD FALLS — As the Chase County school board met Wednesday night, novel coronavirus again was a concern.
“We are seeing a surge in numbers,” Superintendent Glenna Grinstead said Thursday. “We are seeing an increase across the board.”
In fact, Friday night basketball games against Mission Valley have been canceled “due to COVID numbers at the high school level,” a Facebook post said.
During the week of Jan. 3-9, Chase County reported seven positive cases of coronavirus among students. Five were at the elementary level, with two at the junior-senior high school. They led to 24 students in quarantine.
The board reviewed new guidance from the Chase County Health Department related to the pandemic. It includes a five-day quarantine for any “lab confirmed or probable case” of the virus, whether vaccinated or not.
“We are seeing a spike in cases,” a Health Department Facebook post confirmed Tuesday.
The Kansas State Board of Education attempted to address potential school staffing shortages Wednesday, by approving an emergency change in who is qualified to teach. Anyone with a high school diploma can be a substitute teacher through the end of the school year.
“We will not be putting 18-year-olds in a high school class to substitute,” Grinstead said. “No. They’re too close. They’re friends.”
But she added that the emergency change will help. Grinstead believes any new substitute teacher would need board approval.
“We never know when we’re going to face a situation where we have a shortage of teachers and need more subs,” Grinstead said.
While many school boards select new officers in the first meeting of a new year, Grinstead said Chase County decided to do things differently.
“We passed a resolution to select new officer in July, rather than January,” the superintendent said. “They like to keep it consistent with the fiscal year.”
The meeting concluded with personal good news for Grinstead.
“They came out and extended the administrative contract another year... through the 2023-24 school year,” she said. That contract applies not only to her, but two principals.
Grinstead also said an audit presented at the meeting found no faults with the district’s finances and budget.
The Chase County Junior High-Senior High winter music program has been moved to Monday, January 24. But coronavirus has nothing to do with that.
“It was supposed to happen the day of the windstorm,” Grinstead explained. The derecho of Wednesday, December 15, 2021 knocked out electric service in Chase County and left damage across the Emporia area.