MHS COVID cases at 0 for two weeks running

Kris Long, Sports Editor

Manhattan High School has had no COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks amidst increased vaccinations of students and a general decrease in community spread.

“For the last two weeks I’ve had all zeros, no students in quarantine, no cases, it’s been awesome,” school nurse Robin Mall said. “I have been able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.”

Currently, between 84% and 86% of Manhattan High staff are fully vaccinated, and students are beginning to get their immunizations after Kansas’s move to Phase 5 of the Vaccine Distribution Plan, which made them available to anyone who meets the age requirements for a particular vaccine.

“I think it’s probably a combination of people getting vaccinated, wearing their masks, social distancing, people being outside more,” USD 383 Communications director Michele Jones said. “Hats off to the students, they’ve done a great job, it’s not been an easy year. So, really, pleased with our numbers district-wide, and especially at Manhattan High.”

The school is trying to help get students vaccinated, but the information and sign-ups released for a clinic for 18-year-old students — the vaccine available had only been approved for adults — did not receive enough applicants, so is not going ahead. 

Students can still get vaccinated, however. Pfizer 16-years-old and up can make appointments at HyVee, but they are currently out of stock. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available for adults at Walmart, Walgreens and Dillons pharmacies. Vaccines are free, insurance cards will run but there is no charge.

“I would [encourage students to get vaccinated] because just like everybody I want things should go back to normal,” Mall said. “I don’t want to have to socially distance, I don’t want people to have to wear masks, I want to be able to do all the things without restrictions as much as possible. So I definitely encourage people to get vaccinated.”

Students who get vaccinated should inform Mall of their inoculation. While it is currently not a requirement, it is a good idea to update the school on immunizations and COVID-19 vaccines may become an enrollment requirement in the next school year, though the district has taken no action yet.

“I just want to be prepared,” Mall said. “I don’t want to have to backtrack and try to get everybody’s immunizations entered. So, that is definitely a goal of mine. I want to be prepared in case that they say that it’s required for school attendance… if you have had the COVID vaccination, please let the nurse know.”

The school can either look up your vaccine records on the Kansas Web IZ website or students may bring a paper copy of their vaccination requirements. 

Though cases are going down, at MHS a significant number of students who are under 16 cannot be vaccinated and many who meet the age are not yet immunized, so it is important to continue following COVID-19 guidelines through the end of the year.

“We should continue doing the things that we have been doing that have allowed us to continue in-person schooling,” Mall said. “There are places that are just now going back to school, which seems crazy to me. I’m so thankful that we’ve been able to be in-person school full time. It’s what’s good for kids.”