USD 353 releases a statement on the temporary shutdown; will not have remote learning

Greg Williams
Wellington Daily News
Decorative Wellington sign on N. Washington Ave.

USD 353 and Superintendent Adam Hatfield have released a statement regarding the temporary shutdown:

As everyone is aware by now, we have made the decision to temporarily close our schools beginning August 27th, to return on September 7th. I know there are a lot of questions and concerns and I want to provide some insight and more information on the situation. 

In the first eight days of school there were at least 40 positive cases.  The positive cases were highest at Eisenhower, Wellington Middle School, and Wellington High school, deeming them official outbreak schools. This caused the Sumner County Health Department to recommend temporarily closing them. 

Furthermore, with contact tracing, we were up to testing over 200 students a day as of the end of the day on Thursday, August 26th, so our positive numbers were rising. Through contact tracing we realized that there were many positive cases sharing households within all of our schools. It was only a matter of time before numbers went up in all of our schools to official outbreak levels. So, the decision was made to temporarily shut down all schools.  

It is our hope that the temporary shut down will allow the virus incubation period to run its course. In the meantime, we are reviewing policy and consulting with our medical staff in order to make sure we are doing all we can to reopen schools safely on September 7th. We are working diligently to make adjustments for the rest of the school year in regards to learning, athletics and activities. This will take time and we will continue with updates via our website and text alerts over the next few days. 

This is a challenging time for our entire district.  Everybody wants our kids in school.  We are hoping it is only a minor setback.  

I encourage you to please talk to your healthcare provider for recommendations on ways you can help keep our community healthy and safe, therefore keeping our schools open.

USD 353 Communications Specialist Shelby Metcalf has told the Wellington Daily News that Wellington will not have remote learning during the temporary closure.

The state only allows 40 hours of remote learning this year for districts. USD 353 will make adjustments for any lost learning when they return on Sept. 7th. 

In the meantime, USD 353 will not be commenting any further.