By Associated Press - Friday, April 30, 2021

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas City-area high school athletic director is pleading with families to take pandemic safety protocols seriously after instructing about 200 students to quarantine this week.

John Johnson, who oversees athletics at Shawnee Mission South High School, said in a message to parents and athletes that “there are more students with positive tests, and that is causing an extreme domino effect of COVID transmission concerns.” He also warned that post-season play could be affected, The Kansas City Star reports.

Elected officials in Johnson County voted Thursday to switch the mask mandate to a recommendation, although the decision doesn’t affect schools.

Health officials in the county, which is the state’s largest, have warned that while the number of new coronavirus cases is down, the drop in testing makes it more difficult to know how widespread transmission of the virus has become. And they are urging eligible residents to get vaccinated, saying that demand has slowed.

District spokesman David Smith said that it is typical for student athletes to be quarantined from playing sports after a potential exposure, but still be allowed to attend class.

“At school, we have protocols, including mask-wearing and social distancing. But when you’re participating in sports, it’s not always possible to do those things,” Smith said.

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