By William

MCPHERSON – In an email sent out to all personnel of McPherson USD 418 on Friday, Superintendent Shiloh Vincent outlined the October 9 meeting of the USD 418 Gating Criteria Committee meeting to review county and school district data related to COVID-19.

According to the email, the Committee agreed that all schools across USD 418 will remain in full face-to-face learning model as they continue into the week of October 12, 2020.

The following items were of key interest to the Committee:

  • Community and School Numbers Remain Good – the current data showed that our numbers in McPherson County and across USD 418 remain good.
  • Low Cases/High Quarantines – USD 418 has practices in place to keep COVID-19 cases low, and that was great news. Unfortunately, two buildings have seen high numbers of students impacted by quarantines.
  • Hospital Referral Challenges – Dr. Shelia Gorman shared that McPherson Hospital has experienced challenges in referring patients out to area hospitals in recent days/weeks. While the Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows a fairly high level of referral capacity, that is not necessarily an accurate reflection of what McPherson County is seeing. Thus, it is important to keep this in mind moving forward.

Moving in the week of October 12, 2020 – USD 418 will take the following steps in response to these key interests:

  • Focus on Social Distancing – USD 418 is fortunate to have low numbers of COVID-19 cases, but there were a high number of quarantines at McPherson High School and McPherson Middle School. Each of those building are currently working to ensure students are distanced as much as possible.
  • Building Walkthroughs – The Superintendent and the McPherson County Health Officer will conduct building walks next week to review social distancing practices in place across USD 418 schools and provide feedback for improvement if needed.

The USD 418 Gating Criteria Committee agreed to reconvene on Friday, October 16, to review data and discuss feedback/observations from the building walkthroughs.


  • In USD 418 – McPherson, we believe we have the right precautions in place to keep students safe in the full face-to-face model. However, we believe there is room for improvement and will take those necessary steps in the week ahead.

The COVID-19 pandemic remains an ever-changing situation.

With this in mind, the district administration along with the USD 418 Gating Criteria Committee will continue to monitor and assess COVID-19 data.

The next two meetings of the USD 418 Gating Criteria Committee will be on Friday, October 16 and on Friday, October 23.

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