Newton USD 373 to return to ’yellow’ mode

Chad Frey
The Kansan

The Newton Unified School District 373 Board of Education met for a special meeting Oct. 19 to discuss COVID-19 gating criteria and the mode of educational delivery for next week.

The board voted 6-1 Monday to place Newton in the “yellow” mode of operation — meaning elementary and Santa Fe students in buildings all day, every day, with Chisholm and Newton High School students in a hybrid learning system — for two weeks starting Oct. 26.

The district reported there have been two elementary, two middle school and one high school staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 since school began. There have also been two elementary, one middle school and four high school students who have tested positive for COVID-19.

As of Friday, there were 132 students who were isolated following a COVID-19 exposure.

There has not been, according to health officials, transmission of COVID-19 in the school system.

“What we are doing is working and there has been no transmission in schools,” said Luke Edwards, board member.

“We need to do our best to keep our younger ones in school,” said Matt Treaster, board member.

Board member Mallory Morton offered the motion for the yellow mode of learning, dropping from the orange level in place this week.

Only board member Angela Becker was opposed.

Becker expressed a desire to continue the orange mode — with elementary and Santa Fe students in hybrid mode and Chisholm and Newton High School students remote only.

“We are at a breaking point, I feel, in our community,“ Becker said. ”We have to be careful. ... I am supportive of Fred’s recommendation and what the numbers say and that is to stay in orange for another week.“