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No masks, unrestricted play time and school visitors? Seaman superintendent paints picture of ‘normal’ fall



TOPEKA, Kan. – A lot will continue to hinge on the next few months, but Seaman Unified School District 345 superintendent Steve Noble is dreaming of a “normal” fall semester.

At the last Seaman Board of Education during the regular 2020-2021 school year, Noble painted a picture of what school could look like in August — if, and a big if, community COVID-19 transmission stays down over the summer like it has been the past few weeks.

“It is my hope that our community is in a place where we can return to a more normal school year by focusing the things that we can control, like handwashing, sanitation efforts, staying home when symptoms occur, etc.,” Noble told the board.

Noble outlined examples of “normal,” including allowing families to choose if students wear masks at school, letting students mix on the playground and inside classrooms and lifting visitor restrictions and gathering limits.

Quarantine procedures, accordingly, would still be followed but no longer mandatory for any student after they receive their second vaccination.

About 233 Seaman High students have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and a collaborative mobile clinic with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Shawnee County Health Department last week vaccinated just under 50 students.

And hours before the board’s meeting Monday, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would begin allowing children ages 12 to 15 to receive the Pfizer vaccine as well, and Noble said plans are already underway to hold optional vaccine clinics for those middle-school aged students over the summer at school sites.

“We have seen how quickly things can change, but with the vaccinations rising, we’re hopeful next school year can look more like a normal school year for our kids, our families and our staff,” he said.

Even with a few days still left in the school year, board president James Adams declared the year a success compared to the challenge it seemed it would be in summer 2020.