COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

As school has been in full swing for almost a month for many local schools, a few local districts — including Hiawatha — are reporting COVID-19 cases among staff and students this week.

Late Thursday, Hiawatha Superintendent Lonnie Moser sent out a statement to parents and district patrons that a staff member at Hiawatha Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19. According to Moser’s statement, the district was notified that day by the NEK Multi-County Health Department of the positive case.

“Per our established protocol, we have cleaned and disinfected all areas of the building the individual has used,” Moser said.

The district is also in contact with the Health Department to ensure effective contact tracing and to continue to take the steps necessary to protect the health of students and staff. The individual who tested positive will not be allowed to return to school for at least 10 days from on-set of symptoms.

Horton High School Superintendent Jason Cline reported a positive case of a high school staff member on Wednesday. In a letter to district patrons, Cline said that per district protocol, the portion of the building in use by that individual have been temporarily closed for extensive cleaning and disinfecting.

“We are also in contact with the Brown County Department of Health and take the steps necessary to provide the health of our students and staff,” he said. “The individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to school for at least 10 days.”

Five positive COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Prairie Hills USD 113 school district since Friday. The first case was reported Friday, a teacher at Sabetha High School. On Sunday, it was reported a student at the Wetmore center was positive. The third and fourth cases were reported Tuesday — a student at Sabetha Middle School and an adult employee at the Wetmore center. On Wednesday, district officials were notified of another student at the Wetmore Academic Center had tested positive.

The district officials stated that the areas impacted by the positive individuals were cleaned and disinfected and USD 113 said it is in contact with Nemaha County Community Health Services and will take the steps necessary to protect the health of its students and staff. Each individual who tested positive has to quarantine 10 days.

Atchison 409 public schools have announced two positive cases — announced Tuesday afternoon. According to district officials one student and one staff member have tested positive.

As of press time, Doniphan West had also not announced any positive cases, and Troy has confirmed one positive case Aug. 31.

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