On March 17, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered all K-12 school buildings to be closed for the remainder of the school year in response to to the COVID-19 global pandemic, also know as the novel coronavirus.
This means Sterling High School’s halls will be quiet for the conceivable future as students will be barred from entering the building. However, meals will still be provided to students, ages 1-18, who need them.
Such steps are being taken to create social distancing, which is an act of staying away from other people to help stem the spread of the virus.
Experts believe that slowing down the transmission of the airborne disease will prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with patients all at one time.
Learning for Sterling High School students will continue, though, as the Kansas Department of Education released a plan for continuous learning March 18.
This plan outlined many options for school districts to continue to provide education to students while they are in their homes. For some, this will mean online education. However, if a student does not have adequate Internet or technology to do this, physical packets of work will be provided.
Under the continuous learning plan, high school students will be expected to do 30 minutes of work per class for a maximum of three hours per day.
How this will ultimately look is still unknown as the situation is fluid and plans are still being solidified.
“We are going to figure this out together, and do the best we can for our kids. We are fortunate to be in a community that supports our schools and will be working with us to make this work,” Superintendent Jim Goracke said in an email to staff.
For more information regarding the governor’s announcement, please see the Wichita Eagle’s coverage: https://www.kansas.com/news/coronavirus/article241278466.html.
This decision came on the heals of the cancelation of all spring sports and activities sanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
KSHSAA also canceled the state basketball tournaments after the opening rounds were completed. The Sterling High School boys’ basketball team had won their first game in the tournament before play was stopped.
COVID-19 was first reported Dec. 31, 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, the virus has spread around the world. For a complete timeline of the spread of the virus, please see the World Health Organization‘s information: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen.
Business Insider also has an informative timeline: https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-pandemic-timeline-history-major-events-2020-3.
As the virus spread, people flocked to grocery stores to stock up on essentials. In most locations, items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and hand soap are sold out. Many shelves are empty.
The Centers for Disease Control has put out numerous guidelines for dealing with the situation. Though the list is often updated, but experts consistently say that simple hand washing can keep people safe.