Dozens protest after more than 100 asked to quarantine at Timber Creek Elementary

by: Jessica Eley

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Timber Creek students haven’t been in school a full two weeks. Now over 100 people are being asked to quarantine after a recommendation from the Johnson County Health Department.

“This is a significant overreaction and these children should not be out of school,” local pediatrician, Christine White said.

White is a pediatrician at a local practice in Johnson County. She’s also the organizer of Sunday’s event.

Dozens of people gathered to protest the Johnson County Health Department and Blue Valley School District.

“I think that there is a significant amount of fear from the district and Johnson County Health Department around COVID. I think that it is unfounded,” White said.

The health department sent a statement to FOX4:

“The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is investigating COVID-19 exposures at Timber Creek Elementary. We have identified more than 100 exposures to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 at this school. Based on the information we have been provided, a 14-day quarantine is the appropriate mitigation action to contain the spread.

On Saturday we sent a letter to the Blue Valley School District superintendent strongly encouraging impacted families and staff to adhere to the 14-day recommended quarantine, consistent with CDC and KDHE guidelines.

Our overarching goal is to keep students in school, which means that we must prevent the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in a school. We do this together by taking prompt and timely actions that limit the number of students, staff and teachers that are exposed. The quarantine of exposed students and staff is an essential step in limiting the virus from inadvertently being spread to others within a school building.” – Dr. Sanmi Areola

Samantha Hughes has a son who attends Timber Creek Elementary. He is one of over 100 now being asked to not come to school.

“In order for everyone to feel like we’re moving forward to the common goal of five days a week in the school, I think we’ve got to be able to have transparency about the situation,” Hughes said.

White says there could be significant long-term affects like anxiety, depression and potential suicide, if kids aren’t in school.

“I don’t know the protocols of Rockhurst and Pembroke, the other private schools,” White said. “But they are in school, they have been in school for weeks. They have had some potential or proven cases. They isolate a very small number of people in a very surgical way.”

Parents FOX4 spoke with and also the organizer of this event says they do not believe over 100 people were exposed to the one COVID-19 person.

A parent says they believe students were outside during a ‘mask break’ and were spread six feet apart.

The health department says quaranting is an essential step in limiting the spread of the coronavirus at school.