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Coronavirus

Officials: Older Kids in Kansas Largest County Can Go to Class

MISSION, Kan. — Health officials in Kansas’ largest county are making it easier for older students to head back to class even as coronavirus outbreaks in schools and sports infect hundreds statewide.

Johnson County’s health department released new criteria Thursday that allow middle and high schoolers to switch to a hybrid mode in which they go in-person part of the time and learn at home the rest as long as there are safety precautions in place such as masks and daily symptoms screenings, The Kansas City Star reports. Health officials previously said that younger students could return to classrooms full-time.

The suburban Kansas City county averaged 113 new cases each day last week, which was the third highest new case count since the pandemic began, epidemiologist Elizabeth Holzschuh said. And cases have been rising among children under the age of 19 and showing up in schools.

Even with many students still learning online, 104 of Johnson County’s 169 public schools, or more than 60%, have implemented at least one quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure, officials said.

Statewide, Kansas added 1,362 new confirmed and probable cases from Wednesday to Friday, bringing the total to 61,111. Kansas also added 20 more deaths, raising the overall number since the pandemic began to 698.

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