Health officials in Johnson County, Kansas, said Tuesday that letters were sent to school superintendents strongly recommending that they prohibit winter indoor sports and activities, such as basketball or wrestling.
Authorities said the recommendation was made because of the level of community transmission and the risks involved.
“While school districts permitted athletics and activities during the summer and fall months, many were outdoor sports that allowed for some safeguards to minimize the risk of widespread transmissions,” said Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “The risk of transmission of the virus is significantly higher with indoor sports and activities. The chances of widespread transmission in schools is higher if these indoor activities are performed, especially when spectators are allowed.”
School districts can decide whether to follow the recommendation.
Schools that decide to go ahead with indoor winter sports and activities are urged to use mitigation techniques such as masking, cohorting teams, testing to quickly identify infections, not allowing spectators or limiting spectator attendance to immediate family members, and monitoring for symptoms.