Changes made to USD 457 COVID Plan

Meghan Flynn
Members of Garden City High School's Modern Show Choir perform earlier this month at the Clarion Inn Convention Center during a Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

USD 457 Board of Education approved three changes to the district’s COVID-19 Response Plan at the board’s regular meeting Monday.

All three changes are to operational Level 4.

The first change is in regards to concerts. At Level 4, concerts, assemblies or family engagement nights are not allowed.

The change made allows for concerts to be held at 35% location capacity with social distancing and required face masks.

Assemblies and family engagement nights would still not be allowed. No changes would be made to Level 5.

USD 457 superintendent Steve Karlin said that before COVID-19, at the elementary level, they’ve had concerts where 200-300 people were packed in an elementary school gym, but that’s not appropriate with the COVID-19 environment. However, he said, it may be possible to conduct them in a different manner while mitigating exposure, with outdoor concerts, larger venues or only bringing in one classroom at a time for all grade levels.

“We still don't want to have 300 people packed into one of our elementary gyms, but we do think that if we brought a class in at a time instead of a whole school, and socially distanced people appropriately, there's still an opportunity to have a concert that way, or if we use a different venue that allows for social distancing,” he said.

The second change is to playground use.

At Level 4, playground use is now allowed. However, the change allows for playground use on a classroom rotation basis, but there would be no playground use when a classroom is at a yellow status.

The final change is for before- and after-school clubs.

At Level 4, before- and after-school club activities are not allowed. However, the changes allow for after-school academic focus activities to be allowed with social distancing and required face masks.