Too soon to tell if Wichita Public Schools will change COVID-19 protocols before fall semester starts
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Wichita Public Schools said it is too early to determine if its COVID-19 protocol will change before the upcoming school year after the Sedgwick County Health Department recommended everyone now wear a mask inside.
Monday was the first day of in-person enrollment for families in the Wichita Public Schools. Mom Ashlie Stegman said she preferred to come in-person to McLean Elementary School instead of register online.
“It just feels more personal being able to do it in person versus doing everything online,” Stegman said.
Stegman is hoping her experience Monday is echoed throughout the school year for her kids. She said she would rather them also go to school in-person instead of online.
“I think being in person is a lot nicer just because you actually…you get that human interaction, which is…I feel like is really important for the kids,” she said.
Right now, masks are optional at Wichita Public Schools. However, the Sedgwick County Health Department is now recommending everyone, even those who are vaccinated, wear a mask inside.
“We’ve learned that it's best to take your time, get adequate information and then make decisions when it comes closer to the time when you have to make a decision,” Terri Moses Director of Safety and Environmental Services for Wichita Public Schools, said.
School starts in three weeks, and Moses said the district will use that time to gather more information about COVID-19 in the community before making any decisions. Moses said if any protocols change, the human resources department or Board of Education will make the decision.
“We have enough masks for our staff,” she said. “We have enough masks for our students, and they will be made available. That I don't believe will change at all in terms of their availability.”
COVID-19 cases are rising in Sedgwick County. Stegman said her biggest fear is the schools shutting down, but she is optimistic that will not happen.
“It’s just hard to kind of have kids go from in-person to online, back to in person, back to online,” Stegman said.
The City of Wichita also announced it is requiring all city staff to mask up when social distancing is not possible. It is recommending the general public do the same.
In-person enrollment for Wichita Public Schools continues through Wednesday. Families can also register online and continue to do so once the in-person option ends.