Update: Several Area Schools Closed For Additional Days During the Rest of March

Per the orders of their county health departments, several area schools will be closed additional days through most of the rest of March.

Here are some of the messages made by Topeka USD 501, Auburn Washburn USD 437, Shawnee Heights USD 450, Seaman USD 345, Lawrence USD 497, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383, Junction City USD 475 and Ottawa USD 290.

Other schools that will be closed additional days include Kaw Valley USD 321, Wabaunsee USD 329, Mission Valley USD 330, Valley Falls USD 338, Perry Lecompton USD 343, Riley Co USD 378, Morris Co USD 417 and Eudora USD 491.  Emporia USD 253 is scheduled to be closed on Monday, March 16 but will resume classes on Tuesday, March 17.


Topeka USD 501

Dear Topeka Public Schools Parents, Guardians, and Staff, 

The safety of our students and staff is our first priority. As we shared in our last correspondence today, the impact and information about COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. Topeka Public Schools has closely monitored the situation and we remain in contact with the Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Schools will suspend all classroom and extracurricular activities through March 29, 2020. The health department will assess if schools can reopen after March 29, 2020.  We recognize the impact this may have on families and staff and we will do what we can to assist while we also comply with the order in support of ensuring the health and safety of students. We have been working with partner agencies in the event of schools being closed and the Topeka Rescue Mission and other local agencies are partnering to assist us with providing some meal assistance to families in need that they also serve.  Additionally, district staff will meet on Monday to coordinate other available resources in support of Topeka families and staff. Further details will be provided Monday regarding additional support systems and resources the district will have in place.

The Shawnee County Health Department has the authority to suspend all classroom activities  when there is a county health issue and this evening they have issued the following order:  

Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer, has ordered that all Shawnee County School Districts suspend classroom and extracurricular activities for two weeks (which is the estimated maximum incubation period for the virus), starting on Monday, March 16, as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. Early action to slow the spread of COVID-19 is a proactive approach to help keep staff, students, and the entire Topeka and Shawnee County community healthy. Schools can remain open and staff can report to school as needed.

Schools represent an ideal environment for virus transmission due to the close contact of students and staff for prolonged periods of time. A large number of new infections within a short window of time (initiated by students and faculty unknowingly infected during their travels) could result from this situation and would potentially cause a large increase of cases in our community and put a strain on the ability of our public health and healthcare infrastructure to respond adequately. At the end of the two-week period public health and school officials will reevaluate the situation.

Please remember that KDHE has advised that any students or staff who traveled out of the country over spring break are being asked to contact the Shawnee County Health Department at 785.806.6297 for guidance prior to returning to school.  Additionally, if you or anyone in your home feels sick and has symptoms, please call your doctor or health care provider prior to going to the doctor’s office/emergency room. Additional information about COVID-19 is on the Topeka Public schools web page at www.topekapublicschools.net,


Auburn Washburn USD 437 (Update from Saturday, March 14)

The purpose of this message to all parents is to provide an update on how we plan to proceed during the weeks of March 16-20 and March 23-27 when our schools are closed to students. Before providing those details, I sincerely hope that you and your families are doing well. COVID-19 has created an environment that we have not seen in many years, perhaps ever. Your health and the health and well-being of your family remains the priority.

Based on currently known facts, the plan for March 16-20 is only staff identified as “essential” will report to work. The purpose of selecting “essential” staff to work is twofold. One, we want to provide “grab and go” breakfast and lunch sacks for students. Our approach to “grab and go” breakfast and lunch for students will continue to develop but for Monday (3/16) and Tuesday (3/17) breakfast and lunch sacks will be available for students to pick up at Pauline Central Primary Elementary School (6625 SW Westview Road, Topeka, 66619) from 9:00-10:30 am. We will keep you updated as our “grab and go” breakfast and lunch plans continue to develop.

Two, we want to begin organizing efforts and materials to provide learning opportunities for students at home beginning the week of March 23. Our primary function is learning so we will seek ways to engage with students and provide opportunities for learning to continue until students are able to return to school.

Based on currently known facts, the plan for March 23-27 is all staff will report to work. We will continue providing “grab and go” breakfast and lunch sacks for students and we will engage with students at home with some form of learning opportunities. More detailed information will follow.

It is important to reiterate the decision made on March 13 by the Shawnee County Health Department that students are not to be at school through March 29. In other words, schools have been closed to students during this time. This decision includes all school-related activities (school day, co-curricular, athletic).

I will continue sending a daily email update to staff and parents to keep you informed. Things continue to change rapidly and I will do everything possible to provide timely and factual updates as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters.


Dr. Scott McWilliams
Superintendent of Schools


Shawnee Heights USD 450 (Update from Saturday, March 14)

Dear Shawnee Heights Community:

We apologize for bothering you on a Saturday, however, we know that you have many questions that we will
do our best to answer as soon as we can. As you know, the Shawnee County Health Department suspended all
classroom and extracurricular activities for two weeks. At this time we are planning to resume classes on
March 30, 2020. The activities and programs closed until then are:

• All before and after school activities
• All extracurricular activities
• All sporting events
• Boys & Girls Club Programs
• Prime Time Programs
• Any other events/programs that would take place inside the buildings unless specifically stated

If you have traveled outside of the United States or traveled on a cruise ship in the last 14 days we have been
advised by state officials that you should report this to your school building and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Grab and Go sack lunches will be available for all students in designated pick up locations starting Tuesday,
March 17, 2020. Details will be communicated Monday, March 16, 2020.

Our leadership team has been planning for our current situation as well as potential future outcomes that may
occur. Please know this situation changes rapidly and we will do our best to give you updated information as
soon as we have it.

We will continue to communicate with you on a regular basis through email and voice calls to give you the
most up-to-date information from the local and state health departments. Emails will be labeled COVID-19
Update with the date the message was sent. Email and voice messages will be the primary method of
communication, however we are also posting all communications regarding COVID-19 on the district
website under the community tab labeled Coronavirus Monitoring. If you receive a phone call from our
district number 785-379-5800, please check your voice messages and/or email for the message that was sent.


Tiffanie Kinsch
Communications Director
Shawnee Heights USD 450


Seaman USD 345 (Update from Saturday, March 14)

All school buildings will remain closed but offices will be open during normal operating hours with principals and office staff available to manage phone calls, visitors, and regular building needs. Please call ahead if you plan to visit so we can be ready to meet your needs as quickly as possible. Again, the earliest our schools will be reopened for our students could be Monday, March 30.

Lunch and Breakfast
USD 345 Food and Nutrition Services will have a grab-and-go lunch program at Logan Elementary School (1124 NW Lyman Rd) for children ages 1-18, from 11:00 am to noon. We will provide a lunch meal for each child, and a breakfast meal that can be picked up at the same time. Lunches will be packaged to be taken and consumed offsite to avoid group gatherings. We’re also in coordination with Topeka North Outreach to continue their Operation Backpack weekend food sack program from this site on Fridays.

Distance Learning
The USD 345 Teaching and Learning Department will be planning and preparing home learning opportunities for our students that could begin as early as next week. Our philosophy will be to support and monitor learning, but not record learning. Please be on the lookout for more information; we look forward to partnering with you on distance learning for your child(ren).

School Events and Extracurricular Activities
All school events and extracurricular activities originally scheduled during the next two weeks have been cancelled. Unfortunately, many of these events will not be rescheduled and we apologize for the inconvenience. If events are able to be rescheduled, you will be notified by building staff. We will work hard to adjust and realign to our scheduled events, once schools are reopened, to cause the least amount of disruption to our students and families.

We realize that the extended school break may cause some issues with your child’s medication. If your child has medication stored in a Seaman USD #345 health room and you need to pick up this medication we would be happy to assist you with this. Please email Jenny Crowell, Health Services Director, at [email protected] to set up a time to pick up any medication that you might need over the next two weeks.

Making Up Time
At this time, it is our plan to NOT make up days past our originally scheduled last day of May 20, but of course that could change depending on rules and regulations set forth by state and federal authorities. I’m confident that the widespread closure of schools and the declared national emergency will impact how schools are able to count hours, but at this point, this is still a fluid situation. We’ll continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.


Lawrence USD 497

LAWRENCE – Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health has ordered closures for 14 days of all K-12 schools, recreational facilities and public libraries in an effort to stem the outbreak of COVID-19.

Director Dan Partridge said public health is taking this action based on direction from Douglas County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino who has authority to prohibit public gatherings in the interest of stemming a disease outbreak. The health officer is also prohibiting public gatherings of more than 250 people in Douglas County.

“The time to institute this social distancing is before we see the instance of community spread, and we are taking these measures to limit large crowds and seek to help stem the outbreak of COVID-19,” Partridge said.

The closure order will take effect immediately to March 29 and applies in Douglas County to:

•    K-12 Schools, public and private

•    Indoor park and recreational facilities

•    The Lawrence Public Library and public libraries in the county

•    All public gatherings in excess of 250 people.

As of 4 p.m., March 13, Kansas had six presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19, but none of those were currently in Douglas County. Marcellino said the factor of students, school staff and other community members traveling during Lawrence’s recent spring break weighed on the decision.

“We are looking to restrict the amount of contact in this two-week window to allow for symptoms and the incubation period to pass from people who might be returning from spring break,” he said.

Marcellino said Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is also strongly recommending:

•    Daycare centers to close during those weeks.

•    Retirement communities and long-term care centers limit visitors.

•    People avoid large gatherings including sports practices, games and tournaments and unnecessary social gatherings.

•    When in the community, please maintain the CDC’s social distancing standards, including maintain six feet from others.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health consulted with public school districts and private schools in Douglas County, Douglas County Government, the City of Lawrence and other partners on this decision.

Federal, state and local public health officials have been responding to the outbreak of the respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States.

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath and believe you may have had contact or have had contact with someone with a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider to wait for further direction.

“This is a developing situation as we are seeing in communities across the world, so we are continually working with our community partners on decisions to protect the public’s health,” Partridge said.

For detailed information and guidance on COVID-19, visit LDCHealth.org/Coronavirus.


Manhattan-Ogden USD 383

Thank you for being patient with us while we work to handle this unprecedented situation involving COVID-19.

Per the order of the Riley County Health Department, USD 383 will close until March 30, 2020. All classes, activities, and athletics will not be held until that time. We know this situation brings many questions. We will try to get information out in a timely manner about how we will proceed.

If you traveled to an area with a Coronavirus outbreak and develop a fever, cough, or breathing issue, please contact the Riley County Health Department or your primary health care provider immediately for instructions.

Please check out social media and website for further updates www.usd383.org/coronavirus.

(Update from the USD 383 Childhood Nutrition Department)(Posted Saturday, March 14)

Beginning on Monday March 16 from 11:30-12:30 we will serve hot to go lunches with a cold breakfast for the next day at the following locations free for any child ages 1-18 regardless of if they are typically free, reduced or full pay. We are planning on a curb side pickup in an effort to reduce social contact but any child wishing to receive a meal will need to be present per federal regulations

USD 383: Bluemont Elementary pickup will be on the west side of the building
USD 383: Lee Elementary School pickup will be in the front of the building
Northview Elementary School pickup will be in the front of the building
USD 383: Ogden Elementary pickup will be in the front of the building
Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School pickup will be on the east side of the building
USD 383: Woodrow Wilson Elementary pickup will be on the north side of the building

We will also have cold sack lunches with the next days breakfast available for children to pick up in the Colonial Gardens Mobile Home Park from 11:30-12:30

Meals will be provided Monday- Friday from March 16-27th

We will update if there are any changes. Please be patient with staff when picking up meals as we will do our best to get people in and out as quickly as possible


Junction City USD 475 (Courtesy of the Geary County Schools USD 475 Facebook page)

As a precaution against COVID-19, USD 475 is closing for an additional school week. There will be no school or activities during the week of March 16-20. In addition any school sponsored weekend activity/event on March 14 and 15 and March 21 and 22 will no longer happen. It’s our decision in coordination with the Geary County Health Department and Fort Riley to take this precautionary measure at this time. In taking guidance of aggressive Social Isolation, we feel this measure could lessen the impact later on. The safety and well-being of all our students and staff remains our top priority. We will keep you updated and aware of our efforts in maneuvering through this time. We ask for your patience as we do understand there are many questions and we are working through those issues now and will continue to provide additional information when it is available.

Thank you so very much for your patience and understanding as it’s greatly appreciated.

Mrs. Lacee B. Sell

Associate Superintendent of Schools


Ottawa USD 290

USD 290 parents, students, and staff.  We have been working with the Franklin County Health Department, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas State Department of Education to ensure that amid growing concerns for public safety with COVID-19 that our schools are maintaining an environment that is healthy for our students and community.  In the last few days, those concerns have continued to increase across our area and this morning the Franklin County Health Department made a determination that in order to best control the spread of COVID-19 that our schools should close until March 30. The statement from FCHD is linked below and provides more information for you.  The closure of our schools includes all activities as well as the normal school day. As we continue to work through this for our students and community I will keep you informed as more information becomes available. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or phone me at 785-229-8010


Dr. Ryan Cobbs



In addition, the Kansas State High School Activities Association, in a Friday afternoon update release, gave an update on spring activities for the rest of the school year.

The KSHSAA has made no alterations to the spring sports season at this time. Local school leaders are empowered to make the best decisions for their respective student-athletes and school communities for regular season athletic practices and competitions. Please continue to monitor the KSHSAA website for further updates and information. Given the escalating concerns regarding COVID-19 and the closures of schools and school host sites, all Regional Music Festivals scheduled for March 28 and April 4 have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The KSHSAA deeply regrets these lost opportunities, but it is the best decision for the safety of our students, directors, adjudicators and spectators. Note: All other 2020 KSHSAA music festival or KSHSAA speech tournament dates have not been cancelled at this time including State Music Festivals for solos and small ensembles. More information will be given as it becomes available.