Making+news+at+the+inception+of+the+new+decade%2C+the+coronavirus+has+since+spread+globally.+The+picture+above+is+of+the+coronavirus+microbe.+

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Making news at the inception of the new decade, the coronavirus has since spread globally. The picture above is of the coronavirus microbe.

The latest BV news on Coronavirus – last updated March 23 at 1:35 p.m.

March 13, 2020

College board to offer at home free-response AP exams

College board puts plans into place on how to allow students to test for AP credit amidst the coronavirus.

Illustration by Courtney Krebs

College Board has adapted how testing will be administered for the 2019-2020 school year due to the unforeseen circumstances the coronavirus presents. Traditional face-to-face exams will be replaced with at home online free-response exams, according to College Board. 

Exams will only cover topics and skills taught by most AP classes by early March in order to deal with the instructional time lost due to coronavirus school cancellations, College Board said. Further, colleges support this solution and are willing to take these shortened exams results as college credit.

According to College Board, students will be able to take exams on a computer, tablet or smartphone and will also have the option to submit a photo of handwritten work. To prevent cheating with at home tests, College Board said they will use a variety of digital security tools and plagiarism detection software.

The entire exam schedule and free response question types will be made available by April 3 along with all testing details on the AP Central website. Additionally, live AP review courses will be free to stream to allow students extra preparation for their tests.

There will be two testing dates for each exam allowing students to take the exam when it is the best fit for them. College Board said they are also permitting students who have already registered for an exam the ability to cancel at no charge.

In response to these changes, senior Rohan Chinalachaiagari said he still plans on taking four AP exams but worries about how a 45 minute test will accurately assess learning.

  “[The test] is not able to cover all the material and instead is almost like a hit or miss for students,” Chinalachaiagari said. “There might be a specific topic they feel really strong in or something they’re not too comfortable with.”

Chinalachaiagari also said he wonders how cheating will be avoided due to the test being at home, but believes College Board is working on preventative measures.

“I kind of think it’s unfair for those who genuinely prepared a lot for this exam, and they get the same score as someone who may have not put as much effort throughout the year in learning the material, but because of all the resources they have, they’re able to score just as high,” Chinalachaiagari said.

Despite the uncertainties, Chinalachaiagari said he still believes that at home testing is the best option in order to prevent spreading of the coronavirus and ensure everyone’s safety. 

“With Covid-19, spreading out at a record pace and how easy it is for someone to get infected, it’s a really important decision that they make sure everyone’s staying at home taking the test, instead of being in a large group,” Chinalachaiagari said.

Junior Brynn Stasiulis, who still plans on taking AP exams, shares similar concerns with Chinalachaiagari. While she said she agrees with the decision to move online she is nervous about how everything will work.

“I don’t know how they’re gonna deal with people who want to cheat or people whose Internet goes out or their computer doesn’t work. There are a lot of ways in which it can go really poorly,” Stasiulis said. “I just think we’re lacking a lot of information right now since we just learned about it yesterday, but I’m still really scared and it’s uncertain times, but that kind of has added to the uncertainty.”

Stasiulis said she will likely use some of College Board’s resources, but will focus mostly on talking to teachers and studying the information she’s learned throughout the year.

“I probably will [use College Board’s resources] once it gets closer to AP testing time, and especially since we’ll have all the time just sitting at home,” Stasiulis said. “But for the most part, I think I’ll just stick with, like studying the material that I’ve learned in class and using all my notes.”

Filed on March 20 at 9:10 p.m. and updated on March 23 at 1:34 p.m.

Superintendent White updates BV families on status of continued student learning

Superintendent Todd White discussed plans for the future in an email to Blue Valley families.

The+superintendent%2C+Todd+White%2C+speaks+at+the+press+conference+held+after+the+special+board+meeting+at+District+Office+on+Feb+16%2C+2016.

Emily Staples

The superintendent, Todd White, speaks at the press conference held after the special board meeting at District Office on Feb 16, 2016.

After the decision was made by Governor Laura Kelly to cancel in-person schooling, Superintendent Todd White sent out an email earlier today detailing the five step process the Blue Valley School District started weeks prior in the event school might be suspended. The topics discussed include the postponement of Prom and Graduation, a meet the basic needs campaign which the district is working with other governmental agencies to provide and a student learning plan, which students are scheduled to begin the week of March 30. White promised more details are to come on what exactly the student learning plan will look like. 

Here’s the five step process White discussed in the email: 

Phase 1:       CONTINGENCY PLANNING

Three weeks ago we began working in the background to address “What if?” scenarios. That preparation has allowed us to gear up quickly for the implementation of a Blue Valley plan. We’ve conducted daily virtual planning meetings throughout Spring Break to formulate and finalize action steps.       

Phase 2:       DEEP CLEAN BUILDINGS

This week custodial and maintenance staff have been deep cleaning buildings. A big shout out to them for the great work they are doing in keeping all of us safe.

Phase 3:          MEET BASIC NEEDS

  • Free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch will be available from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at four locations across the district beginning Tuesday, March 24. We will be communicating additional details with families later this week.
  • Johnson County school districts and Johnson County Government have formed a task force to identify solutions to provide childcare needs for health care workers during the pandemic. County-wide planning and partnerships will be critical to ensuring health care professionals have the 24/7 support they need to do their jobs.
  • Johnson County has launched a new community COVID-19 hotline. Community members can call 913-715-2819 between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to ask general COVID-19 health-related questions, including when to seek medical attention. Thank you to our Blue Valley school nurses who are helping to staff this hotline. 
  • The district is working on a plan for families to pick up medication and medical supplies in the coming days.
  • Community needs will be addressed in collaboration with public and private partners when possible. 

Phase 4:          PLANNING FOR LEARNING AND SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL NEEDS

  • We have a team working on a learning plan that will be coordinated with other Johnson County schools as well as the state’s Continuous Learning Task Force recommendations. 
  • Students will begin engaging in our learning plan the week of March 30. More details to come.
  • District staff are ensuring we have supports in place to attend to staff and student social-emotional needs.                        

Phase 5:         IMPLEMENTATION AND REVISION

Implementation will be subject to on-going adjustment as we learn how to best support our staff and students in a distance-learning environment. Be patient, give grace and keep the end goal of providing a safe and healthy learning and work environment in mind.

Filed on March 18 at 7:54 p.m.

Kansas school buildings to close for remainder of school year because of COVID-19

Task Force devising plan for Continuous Learning

Unprecedented circumstances that threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day require swift, thoughtful and coordinated action. On Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Laura Kelly announced that school buildings across the state must be closed for the duration of this school year for the purpose of general student and staff attendance. However, learning will continue for Kansas students.

A 25-member task force comprised of many of the state’s top educators in Kansas continues working to develop plans for Continuous Learning. The task force will deliver their recommendations to Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson by Wednesday evening.

Kansas education is among the finest in the country. Closing classrooms and moving to a Continuous Learning plan can’t begin to replicate our state’s education structure as we know it, but it can help ensure strategies that will provide a bridge back to the world-class learning our students benefit from today.

Essential staff members – as determined by local district officials – may be needed through Friday, March 20, to assess and prepare for facility maintenance. While schools are closed, administrative offices and support facilities may remain open as needed.

Once buildings are thoroughly sanitized, they will be able to reopen for small groups of school personnel to implement a plan for Continuous Learning.

We realize this is a difficult time, but Kansans always have persevered – and we will continue to do so. We will work together to get through this, and we will overcome this challenge and emerge stronger.

Filed on March 17 at 5:03 p.m.

A news release from the Kansas Department of Education, posted on March 17. 

Read the press release here

 

Regional CORE 4 partners order temporary closings for some businesses; ban public gatherings of more than 10 people

Today the CORE 4 partners of Jackson County, Missouri; Johnson County, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas met and agreed to implement measures to close restaurants, bars, taverns, clubs and movie theaters in their jurisdictions as of 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2020 for 15 days. Exceptions are delivery, pickup and drive-through service. The jurisdictions will revisit the decision on April 1 with an evaluation of conditions at that time. Each jurisdiction will implement the closures according to their statutes and procedures.

All four jurisdictions have also decided to ban public gatherings of more than 10 people effective today. Exceptions include governmental and judicial functions, healthcare facilities, private business operations, religious and faith-based activities, weddings and funerals.

Filed March 16 at 9:01 p.m.

Johnson County schools closed through April 5; Joint news conference is planned for tomorrow

Tonight, Johnson County Government is announcing that Johnson County public health officer Dr. Joseph LeMaster has signed an order to close all schools in Johnson County through April 5 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

A news conference will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

Filed March 16 at 8:05 p.m.

Johnson County superintendents release joint statement following KSDE recommendation

Image from cdc.gov

The Kansas State Department of Education issued the following statement on Sunday, March 15:

As of Sun., March 15, Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson strongly recommends that those schools currently coming off of spring break, suspend operations for the week March 16-20. All schools scheduled for spring break the week of March 16-20 will continue as planned.

Closing all schools during this same period of time provides Kansas officials the time needed to finalize a comprehensive plan for how to address COVID-19.

It is critical that we all follow a coordinated response to this situation.

This announcement does not directly impact districts in Johnson County, as all districts are on Spring Break from March 16-20, 2020; however, we commend Commissioner Watson on making this important recommendation.

As we are all well aware, proactive measures to combat COVID-19 are important to community health and safety. All Johnson County school districts will continue to work closely with Johnson County government, including the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, to take proactive steps to address student, staff and community safety. Families should continue to proactively make plans for the very real possibility of a school closure beyond Spring Break.

As this remains a fluid and evolving situation, we will keep families updated as more information becomes available from Johnson County officials and the Kansas State Department of Education.

Filed March 15 at 8:12 p.m.

KDHE issues new recommendations for quarantine and isolation of travelers, close contacts and those being tested

Image from cdc.gov

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is issuing new guidance today surrounding COVID-19, including travelers, close contacts of confirmed cases and those being tested.

KDHE is now recommending 14-day home quarantine for Kansans who have:

• Traveled to a state with known widespread community transmission (currently California, New York and Washington state) on or after March 15.

• Visited Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties in Colorado within the past week.

• Traveled on a cruise ship on or after March 15. o People who have previously been told by Public Health to quarantine because of their cruise ship travel should finish out their quarantine.

• Traveled internationally on or after March 15. o People who have previously been told by Public Health to quarantine because of their international travel should finish out their quarantine.

• Received notification from public health officials (state or local) that you are a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.

You should quarantine at home for 14 days since your last contact with the case. (A close contact is defined as someone who has been closer than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes while the patient is symptomatic.) “We know there are a lot of questions and concerns from people,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said. “One thing we want to stress is that having contact with someone who may have been exposed to someone who may be a COVID-19 case is not a reason to worry or quarantine yourself. Public health officials will notify you if you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.”

There is no need for returning travelers to notify KDHE about their return. Information on COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and states with community transmission can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Home Quarantine Guidelines

Those who are under home quarantine should not attend school, work or any other setting where they are not able to maintain at about a 6-foot distance from other people.

If a person under quarantine develops symptoms of COVID-19 during their 14-day quarantine period, including a measured fever of 100.4 (F) or higher and lower respiratory symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath, they should contact their healthcare provider and tell them about their recent travel or other COVID-19 exposure.

Testing for COVID-19

Healthcare providers should evaluate exposure history and symptoms and call KDHE if COVID-19 is suspected. KDHE only approves COVID-19 testing requests from healthcare providers and local health departments.

People who are currently being tested for COVID-19 should remain in home isolation, or hospital isolation if symptoms are severe enough to be hospitalized, until test results are available. If the test result is negative, isolation is no longer required. If test results are positive for COVID-19, the person must remain in isolation until released by public health.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid spreading the virus and to avoid being exposed to the virus. The virus is thought to spread between people who are within about 6 feet of each other for at least 10 minutes through droplets from coughing and sneezing.

To reduce risk, everyone should:

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Cover coughs and sneezes.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces daily.

For more information, please visit the KDHE website at www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus. KDHE has a phone bank that is staffed Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. The phone number is 1-866-534-3463 (1-866- KDHEINF). KDHE also has an email address for general inquiries, [email protected] Please note these contacts are for general questions and cannot provide you with medical evaluations. If you are feeling ill, please stay home and call your healthcare provider.

http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/index.htm 

Filed March 15 at 8:05 p.m.

A letter sent from superintendent Todd White – March 13 at 4:36 p.m.

“As I shared in this morning’s email, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a rapidly evolving situation. What is constant is our unwavering commitment to keeping our students, staff, families and community safe while mitigating the potential spread of the virus. That said, I have two important updates to share with you.

 

First, while travel associated with Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) athletics and activities is being reviewed, all other student and staff travel through the end of the school year has been canceled. Please know this decision was not made lightly, but one that was made in the best interest of protecting the health and wellbeing of students and staff members. More details will be provided later.

 

Secondly, we know our county shares a social responsibility to each other in situations like this as we are one community. This afternoon the six school districts of Johnson County, Johnson County Government and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will release the joint press release below.

 

“As partners in community health, the six school districts of Johnson County, Johnson County Government and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment are in the process of collaborating and accumulating data regarding the continuation of school following spring break.

 

The districts are currently deep cleaning and disinfecting buildings and school buses while students and staff members are on spring break.

 

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Education advised against school closures at this time. Although they have advised against a closure, we would like parents to be aware that a closure may become necessary in the future.

 

Before we return from spring break, we will continue to evaluate the implementation of the interim guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment Kansas Department of Education.

 

As we collaborate with local health officials, we will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.”

 

Again, I would encourage you to check your email periodically over Spring Break as we will continue to share any important updates with you through email.”

Filed on March 13 at 7:38 p.m.

Letter sent by superintendent – March 13 at 10:39 a.m.

“I come to you today with important information about district-wide campus closures over Spring Break. The health and safety of our students, staff, families and community is of utmost importance, which is why our facilities and operations team has scheduled deep cleaning of all district campuses over Spring Break. In order to provide our custodial crews with full and uninterrupted access to district facilities and grounds, we will be closing all district campuses over this break.

 

All district campuses will close to employees and the public beginning at 5 p.m. today. We ask that all staff, excluding our custodial team, not be on district campuses from 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 22. Signs will be posted at all buildings directing deliveries to the district’s Receiving & Distribution Center.

 

During Spring Break, only essential personnel will be asked to work. You will be notified if you are essential personnel. Please take anything home that you might need over break, including laptop computers and chargers. All employees will be paid during this time and any leave you had requested will not be charged.

 

Additionally, all activities on district campuses will be suspended including all practices and activities, facility rentals and YMCA’s Y-Club program. Playgrounds and all district property (fields, tracks, courts, grounds, etc.) are also closed. This includes Blue Valley Recreation (BVRC) activities. During this time, athletic and activity groups off-campus practices are also suspended.

 

As guidance from local health officials is fluid and evolving, I would encourage you to check your email periodically over Spring Break as we will continue to share any important updates with you through email.

 

Thank you for your understanding and support of our deep cleaning measures. Enjoy a safe and healthy Spring Break!”

Filed on March 13 at 7:37 p.m.

Colleges take precautions due to COVID-19

The spread of coronavirus has impacted many recent BVNW alumni, leading to online college classes and students being sent home from study abroad trips.

photo from cdc.gov

Many universities throughout the US have cancelled classes in favor of online courses for at least a week in addition to spring break due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Additionally, many universities are shutting down study abroad programs and encouraging students to go back to their permanent homes and leave campus, if possible.

The University of Kansas announced that students would have an extra week before beginning online classes on March 23 until further notice. This has affected over three hundred former BVNW students who currently attend the university, including freshman Maddie Nei.

“There’s some really upset college kids who want to go back to campus,” Nei said. “Most college kids aren’t very panicked.”

However, Nei said that she thinks the virus should be taken seriously considering the issue is significant enough to cancel school.

For Indiana University freshman and BVNW graduate Eric Blank, the school’s decision to switch to online classes and encourage students to leave campus for two weeks after their spring break was surprising.

“We found out yesterday,” Blank said. “I was surprised because as of right now, there are only a couple of cases in Indianapolis, but I like the precautions that IU is taking.”

  With over 30,000 students on campus, Blank said he thinks the additional two week break is a smart decision, even though the cancellations have upset many students.

At Cornell University, the hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic will last for the rest of the semester, affecting recent BVNW graduate Allison Park. With all classes going virtual until the end of the school year, Park said she is sad that her freshman year has been cut short, but is looking forward to having a break.

“It’s very chaotic and everyone’s shuffling to get everything in order because nothing like this has ever happened before. There’s a lot still up in the air right now and we’re all waiting for more specifics regarding our individual majors and classes,” Park said.

Taking his gap year as a foreign exchange student in Italy, 2019 graduate Grant Wood made the decision to travel back on March 4, due to the quick spreading of the virus. While spending the weekend in Milan with a friend, Wood said he was stuck there for two weeks as the coronavirus started spreading rapidly.

“It was a really confusing, isolated two weeks before we finally decided to come back,” Wood said. “The next five month period was supposed to be the best part of the exchange, with all these fun trips to different places. It just happened at the right place at the wrong time, and so we were obviously torn.”

During his trip back, Wood said he encountered few holdups, and was surprised that there weren’t more questions during his 16 hour journey. After getting back, the Kansas Health Department regulations called for him to be quarantined in his house for 14 days to avoid contact with others as a precaution.

“I’ve been remarkably healthy, but I’m not gonna leave the house or anything” Wood said. “I just feel like it’s a responsibility. I’m not personally afraid of the virus itself, but I am afraid of its repercussions for others if I were to spread it around.”

Filed March 13 at 12:57 p.m.

2020 KSHSAA state basketball tournament canceled following quarterfinal round

After defeating Lawrence Free State in the quarterfinals, the Huskies advanced to the semifinals to discover their season would be cut short.

Senior+guard+Markell+Hood+%2825%29+drives+into+the+paint.+He+would+finish+the+game+with+10+points.

Richa Laddha

Senior guard Markell Hood (25) drives into the paint. He would finish the game with 10 points.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, KSHSAA has decided to cancel their 2020 state basketball tournaments. Here is what KSHSAA said in a tweet released.

“Given the escalating concerns regarding COVID-19, the best decision for the safety of student-athletes and spectators was to cancel the remainder of the championship tournament. The KSHSAA regrets the lost opportunity for teams and players that have worked to achieve their goals,” KSHSAA said.

Looking for his fourth state championship in a row and sixth overall, head coach Ed Fritz said while it’s disappointing he understands it’s in the best interest of the kids.

“It is disappointing. It’s just a crazy time right now,” Fritz said. “Maybe these guys know something. We have to trust that the people in this position are doing it in the best interest of kids. It’s very disappointing, but I understand.”

Looking to end his senior season with his second championship, senior Markell Hood said sharing the state championship with four other schools doesn’t feel worth the amount of work his team put in.

“It feels really bad and disappointing because we deserved it and we worked all year for it, six days a week, we worked all year for it,” Hood said. “We wanted to get the younger guys a ring and finish our senior year a state champion. And now we have to share the title with four other schools, it sucks.”

Hood said he believed if they continued playing the Huskies would’ve ended as State Champions.

“Everyone knows that if we got a chance to play those next to games, we probably would’ve taken it home,” Hood said.

Filed on March 13 at 1:41 p.m.

The We the People national competition and the Choir trip to Ireland were canceled due to growing concerns of the coronavirus

We the People and the Choir program have both had to cancel their planned trips in recent days due to coronavirus fears.

Courtesy of Rose Yeganeh-Kazemi
Ken Thomas, the advisor of We the People, poses with the state championship plaque.

The We the People team will be unable to attend the 2020 National Finals due to the competition’s cancelation, according to an email sent out by Principal Amy Pressly on March 11. The national competition was scheduled to occur in Washington D.C. from April 24-27.

Senior Travis King, a We the People member who was going to attend the national competition, said even though the news hurts for the students, he feels more for We the People Adviser Ken Thomas.

“This really stinks the most for Thomas, because he’s putting so much effort into it,” King said. “He’s put so much money in into We the People in general and I think he really thought that our team had a chance at Nationals. So just to see him disappointed by this is very sad.”

Since competing in person is no longer possible, the Center for Civic Education is looking into holding the national finals virtually.

“The [Center for Civic Education] understands that students have spent countless hours preparing for the events,” Pressly said via email. “For that reason, they have decided to work on an alternative plan which would involve class produced unit video hearings to be evaluated and scored by our National Finals and National Invitational judges.”

We the People won the state competition on Jan. 27 and Pressly said she knows this is not the news the team would want to hear ahead of the national competition.

“I know that this information is not what our seniors want to hear,” Pressly said. “We are so proud of them and all the hard work they have done this year. We are thrilled to call them state champions.”

In addition to the cancelation of the national competition for We the People, the Blue Valley Northwest choir program cancelled its upcoming trip to Ireland scheduled for March 13-21, in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus across the globe,. 

Beth Richey-Sullivan, the choir teacher, sent out an email on March 10 to break the news to her students a few hours after school dismissal, highlighting the factors leading up to the decision.

“Please know I did not arrive to this decision lightly. I came to this decision for all our safety,” Richey-Sullivan said via email. 

Choir director Beth Richey-Sullivan and Director of Chorale Studies at William Jewel College, Anthony Maglione, look at sheet music during second hour Chorale.

The final verdict was made alongside other district and school officials, including Superintendent Todd White, incoming Superintendent Tonya Merrigan, Principal Amy Pressly, the BV staff attorney and the district health advisor, during a meeting after school. The group’s main concern was Richey-Sullivan’s liability and the safety of the students and their chaperones, Richey-Sullivan said in the email.

The trip was not a Blue Valley School District, nor a BVNW-sponsored trip. The district does not sponsor international travel for students. District officials met with Richey-Sullivan to offer guidance, but the decision not to go rested only with her.

Among the number of students who paid and planned to take part in the trip was junior Declan Franey. Franey said such the trip only takes place every four years, inviting any member of the choir to attend. The group sings songs, which they’ve rehearsed at school for many weeks leading up to the event, in various churches and festivals as they travel across the country. 

 Although each student had their own reasons behind their enthusiasm, Franey said he was particularly excited to travel outside of the country after five years, while participating in an activity he enjoys with a group of people he’s grown close with over the past year. 

“My family is also Irish, so I was super excited to get out of the country, and as an artist, experience new things and different ways of life,” Franey said. 

As the coronavirus continued to garner even more media attention, Franey said he and his fellow peers acknowledged a potential cancellation of the trip. Once Richey-Sullivan’s message was sent out, talk of what to do next quickly arose among students. For both Franey and his mom, who planned to accompany him on the trip, the trip cost around $6000, he said. Many of his peers, including Franey himself, discussed using whatever money they received back for educational purposes instead, such as college tours, or other grand trips, including Hawaii and Mexico, he said. 

“Even though it is very sad we cannot go, hopefully we’ll get a good chunk of the money back; obviously not all of it. It still opens up other opportunities for us, and as sad as it is, there are still positives of not going,” Franey said. 

In regards to the decision made by the school officials, Franey said that although he believes the trip could have still happened despite growing concerns of the virus, he also understands the school prioritizing it’s students safety. 

“Since I’m a young person, it wouldn’t affect me that much, and that’s why I’m not super worried about it. I also understand that with something as big as this, it’s so new and we don’t fully understand how much it can impact things and how quickly it can spread to the elderly,” Franey said. 

According to the email from Richey-Sullivan, students will still be able to use their airfare to travel to Ireland as planned, but independent from the school and its associations. MCI, the travel agency used by the BVNW choir program, is also working diligently, she said, to get as much money back as possible from the scheduled land travel. Students whose families purchased insurance can begin claims tomorrow. In addition, the option of rescheduling was also discussed, Richey-Sullivan said in the email, although with the predicted spread of the virus, it may be unlikely. 

“Please know my heart is breaking right along with you. The singers have worked so hard and we have poured so many hours into the preparation. I know that families have made enormous financial sacrifices for this trip as well,” Richey-Sullivan said. “I wish I had a different answer.”

Filed on March 11 at 9:49 p.m.

Johnson County has first confirmed case of the Coronavirus; BVNW reacts

The global virus affecting those in six continents is now in Johnson County.

Above+is+a+global+map%2C+with+all+the+shaded+countries+having+a+confirmed+case+of+coronavirus.+

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Above is a global map, with all the shaded countries having a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Johnson County is no longer coronavirus free, according to Governor Laura Kelly, as a woman under fifty has a confirmed case. Kelly said the woman is being kept in isolation in her home.

“Public health officials are also working to identify and contact those who may have been in close contact with this individual and exposed to the virus,” Kelly said.

As of right now, the CDC said there are 31 states with confirmed cases of the virus and 19 coronavirus related deaths in the US.

The Blue Valley School District said in an email to BVNWnews that they will follow the guidelines of local health departments. Coupled with that, in an email sent out to staff the Blue Valley School District said its custodial staff will use hospital-grade disinfectants that sanitize surfaces killing viruses and bacteria. If the cancellation of school became necessary to protect the health of students, the district also said it is looking into using the one-to-learner devices, issued to every student, as a way to conduct virtual schooling.

In addition, Principal Amy Pressly said her newsletter, set to come out Friday afternoon, will advise the BVNW community to: avoid close contact with those who are sick, cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds in order to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

According to the Johnson County Health Department, to avoid contracting the coronavirus one should do the things Pressly mentioned. The County Health Department also said symptoms of the coronavirus included a mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath. If someone is exhibiting these symptoms, the Johnson County Health Department recommends staying home, covering coughs or sneezes and to disinfect objects and services.

If the coronavirus were to make landfall in Johnson County, school nurse Becky Imlay said students should treat it like the flu and take the following precautions.

“If we had some kind of pandemic, they would treat it like they do influenza,” Imlay said. “[This means] good hand washing, cover your cough [and] avoid respiratory droplets. If there was a vaccine, get the vaccination. There’s not right now. Stay home if you’re sick. Stay home. That’s really all there is to do for something like that right now until they figure out a vaccine for it.”

Imlay said the district has not said anything about which procedures should be followed in the event of the spread of the coronavirus.

Additional information will be added as we gather it.

Filed on March 7 at 9:35 p.m.

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