TOPEKA – During their first meeting last week, members of the Safer Classrooms Workgroup announced that it will gather and share school testing metrics on a weekly basis to help the public understand the risk for COVID-19 in school communities, according to a media release from the governor's office.
“The information shared by this workgroup will make a huge difference for countless school kids, staff, and teachers,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I look forward to watching the group’s progress, and learning more about can we be doing together – in a spirit of cooperation and concern – to keep our schools open and our students and teachers safe.”
Each week, the Workgroup will gather information from Kansas school districts to share with the public, including:
- The number of antigen tests administered
- The number of PCR tests administered
- The number of positive tests
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will seek data from all 286 school districts in Kansas, and as many private schools as possible. Data completeness will depend on schools’ active participation.
The Workgroup will use this data to highlight the urgency of protecting kids from COVID-19, and discuss how to help school districts, communities, and families keep their kids safe.
The Safer Classrooms Workgroup is composed of pediatricians, family physicians, school nurses, pharmacists, school psychologists, and other health professionals. They will meet weekly to highlight the urgency of protecting our kids from the delta variant, speaking with educators, parents, and advocates about their experiences as schools work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Membership of the Safer Classrooms Workgroup includes:
- G.A. Buie, Executive Director, United School Administrators of Kansas
- Jennifer Bacani McKenney, MD, Health Officer, Wilson County
- Jen Brull, MD, Family Physician, Post Rock Family Medicine
- Lindsay Byrnes, MD, MPH, Medical Director, KUSM-Wichita, Wesley Children’s Hospital
- Kristie Clark, MD, Pediatrician, Rural Health Clinic
- Allen Greiner, MD, Family Physician, Wyandotte County Health
- Dena Hubbard, MD, Kansas American Academy of Pediatrics
- Rhonda Hutchinson, BSN, RN, President, Kansas School Nurse Organization
- Kimber Kasitz, BSN, RN, Director of Health, Homebound, and Section 504 Services, USD 259
- Stephanie Kuhlmann, DO, Pediatric Hospitalist Division Director and Pediatric Medical Director, KUSM-W, Wesley Children’s Hospital
- Vernon Mills, MD, Pediatrician, retired
- Kelli Netson, PhD, Neuropsychologist, KUSM-W Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
- Kevin Riemann, Executive Director, Kansas National Education Association
- Manuel Solano, MD, Physician and program director, Community Health Center of Wyandotte County
- Margaret Thompson, RN, ARNP, Nurse Anesthetist, Kansas Black Nurses Association
- Randy Watson, Ed.D, Commissioner, Kansas State Department of Education