Local agencies have joined forces to provide the best services possible during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure public safety.
Information on COVID-19 are constantly being updated. Please check with providers or online for additional information.
A state of emergency was declared by Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.
The declaration allows the chairman to establish measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. It also allows Johnson County Government access to resources, such as personal protective equipment for first responders and health care personnel, that is either in short supply or not available on the open market.
“Our intent is to position Johnson County Government in the best position to help mitigate the community impact of COVID-19,” Eilert said.
Specifically, the declaration prohibits public gatherings in Johnson County with 250 or more people. Exceptions include governmental and judicial functions, healthcare facilities, private business operations, religious and faith-based activities, weddings and funerals. For any size gathering of people, the county encourages everyone to follow the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), federal, state and local public health officials and private medical providers.
The state of local disaster emergency is effective immediately and remains in effect for a period of seven days unless renewed by consent of the Board of County Commissioners. The board will consider a request to extend the declaration at its regular meeting on March 19, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
In addition, the county canceled its annual State of the County event scheduled for March 24. Details on an electronic presentation of the State of the County address will be announced in the future.
Residents are encouraged to do business with the county online and by phone when possible. County departments are adjusting business practices to accommodate remote interaction. Some of those changes include:
•Johnson County Mental Health Center: Medication refill requests by phone through April 17 and rescheduling appointments for those impacted by illness.
•Johnson County Appraiser’s Office: The office is suggesting appraisal appeal hearings by phone instead of in person, or rescheduling.
•Voter registration online is being encouraged. More information is available at jocoelection.org/registration.
•Johnson County Library reminds patrons that eLibrary services, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eNewspapers and eMagazines, are available 24/7 at jocolibrary.org/elibrary.
•Johnson County Wastewater customers are encouraged to conduct all business over the phone or online. The JCW Customer Service Center number is 913-715-8590. Staff is available to assist Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For sewer emergencies, call 913-715-8600. Operations staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
•Johnson County Motor Vehicles encourages residents to renew and conduct some other business online or via U.S. Postal Service. Otherwise, please utilize the virtual line management system at jocogov.org/residents/vehicles before coming into an office. Do not come in until the system notifies you to head to the office. If you miss your turn, you can rejoin the line virtually.
•The court’s Help Center will be closed to in-person consultations. Assistance is available online and by phone.
For a full list of changes in service, please visit jocogov.org/coronavirus.
Additionally, all Johnson County departments are evaluating current protocols and practices for employees and their interactions with the public. The following are some of the steps being taken to protect the safety and well-being of staff and those we serve.
•Beginning Monday, meal and socialization opportunities will be suspended at congregate meal sites. The Home Delivered Meals program (Meals on Wheels) will continue as normal. All volunteers are being screened for illness. Shelf-stable meals have been ordered for program recipients, so each person has up to 11 meals on hand. Human Service’s Catch-A-Ride program will suspend all rides from volunteer drivers, with the exception of currently scheduled client transport to dialysis or chemotherapy. The department’s Housing Services program will involve screening of homeowners/renters prior to visits.
•If you have a traffic ticket from the Highway Patrol or Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and have been ordered to appear in court in March or April, you can contact the District Court and ask for a continuance to a later date. You can resolve the ticket by calling the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office at 913-715-3011.
•The Johnson County Law Library is closed to the public and attorneys. However, limited services are available via email from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at JOCOLawlib@gmail.com.
•The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office has suspended all visitations to the general public at both Detention facilities until further notice. Legal visits are still permissible at this time.
•Additionally, fingerprinting services are suspended until further notice.
•All tours and events, including the Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy, have been postponed.
•Johnson County MED-ACT has canceled and postponed all Hands-Only CPR, Bleeding Control and distracted driving awareness programming until further notice. Enrollees will be contacted for rescheduling. The department has also canceled and will reschedule all public celebrations such as retirement ceremonies and promotion ceremonies.
•Johnson County K-State Research and Extension has canceled all programs and events for two weeks.
•The Johnson County Library volunteers have been instructed not to report for duty at this time.
•All use of public library meeting, conference and study rooms is suspended.
•All library-sponsored programs and events are canceled through March 31, including the Friends of Johnson County Library Book Sale at Central Library scheduled for March 12-14.
•Friends Bookstores are closed.
•Book donations will not be accepted.
•Jury trials (civil and criminal) scheduled through May 1 are continued, pending further order of the court. Those who have received a summons for trials from March 16-May 1, do not need to report to the courthouse. Marriage ceremonies will not be scheduled during this time. Contact the court for further information.
•Press release about Johnson County Johnson County Developmental Supports volunteer programs are suspended for the time being.
•If individuals receive residential support from JCDS and normally receive day services in a larger setting, such as the Elmore Center, they will be temporarily supported in their homes during the day.
•Johnson County Park & Recreation District has cancelled tournaments, performances and numerous programs. As they finalize plans they will release additional information.
For additional information, visit jocogov.org/coronavirus.
City of Gardner
In a continued effort to protect the public and limit the spread of COVID-19, the City of Gardner will be taking the following precautionary measures effective immediately:
• Suspend utility shutoffs as well as penalties and fees through March 31 to limit public contact.
• Cancel Municipal Court through March 31. (The city will notify individuals by letter regarding their new court date.)
• Cancel all public activities scheduled at the Gardner Justice Center and the Gardner Senior Center from March 16 through March 31.
• Postpone the State of the City – future date to be announced.
• Cancel all Youth Soccer practices through March 23 – the city will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and determine whether to extend the date.
The city will still hold City Council and Planning Commission meetings as scheduled. We encourage the public to watch our livestream at youtube.com/user/CityofGardnerKS and only attend if they need to provide public comment. We ask that if you do plan to attend that you wash your hands before entering the meeting and following.
Lastly, while city offices will remain open at this time, we encourage you to conduct your city business online or by phone.
The health and well-being of our community remain our top priority, and we will continue to provide more updates as they become available. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
City of Edgerton
With the announcement of new COVID-19 cases, the City of Edgerton is monitoring the spread of the virus. The city is consulting with Johnson County and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to make decisions to help limit the spread of the disease.
To that end, the City of Edgerton is suspending ALL Parks and Recreation events, including all Spring Break activities and youth and adult classes, and other public events through the end of April. The annual community Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 4 has been canceled. The City is also postponing our annual Low-Cost Animal Vaccine Clinic. We will extend our pet licensing deadline until July 1. The vaccine clinic will be rescheduled, but a date has not been set yet.
Edgerton Municipal Court will not be held on March 24. All cases will be continued to April. Individuals will be notified via mail with their new court dates.
Edgerton City Council and Planning Commission will continue to meet this month. Please watch our website and Facebook and Twitter pages for the most up-to-date information.
We encourage all members of our community to frequently wash your hands, cover your coughs and stay away from anyone who is sick. Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to coronavirus should self-isolate and contact their doctors office or the KDHE hotline at 1-866-534-3463 or via email at
COVIDemail@example.com. The City Council has considered suspending utility shutoffs but has not made a determination yet. Please follow the recommendations from KDHE and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For anyone who has business with the City, staff is taking extra precautions to sanitize public spaces and we are asking City employees to stay home if they are sick. Edgerton offers several options for our utility customers to pay their bills, including by phone or online, so that they can minimize their exposure. Please see our website at edgertonks.org or by calling City Hall at 913.893.6231 for more details.
The City will reevaluate our plans regularly. The City continues to take the recommendations from state and county health officials regarding public health practices. The health and safety of our residents and community members is of the utmost importance.
Johnson County Library
We are living in a time of tremendous uncertainty, and we are facing the challenge of a global pandemic. I want to assure you that your safety, the safety of your family and the safety of our staff and volunteers is our highest priority. Following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding social distancing, all Johnson County Library branch locations will be closed at 5 pm Saturday, March 14 through Tuesday, March 31 to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. The Library serves and employs a number of at-risk populations, with an average of 38,000 patrons per week entering our facilities. Johnson County Library wants to do everything it can to help protect our community and curb this viral outbreak.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. In conjunction with local, state and Federal government authorities and organizations, the Library is carefully and continuously monitoring information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will continue to post updates on jocolibrary.org and social media channels regarding the operating status of Library facilities, resumption of affected Library services and the rescheduling of canceled events.
Fines will not accrue during the closure, and pickup dates on current holds will be adjusted to allow time for patrons to pick them up after Library branches reopen. There will be no interruptions in access to the Library’s wide variety of online resources while branch locations are closed, including local and national eNewspapers, eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines, as well as on-demand video platforms and educational services. Our eLibrary is available for remote access 24/7 by visiting jocolibrary.org/elibrary and logging in with your Library card or eCard.
A general FAQ and more information about Johnson County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at jocogov.org/coronavirus.
Kansas Law Enforcement Training
The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC) will be suspending classes for basic training and continuing education for the next three weeks, March 16, 2020 to April 6, 2020,to allow time to gather the information needed to inform the next course of action.
“This decision was not made lightly, and was done in consultation with KLETC and KU leadership, as well as members of the law enforcement community,” said Darin Beck, executive director. “KLETC training reaches law enforcement agencies throughout the state. We had to balance the critical function of law enforcement training against the risk of becoming a catalyst for the spread of the virus. Our concern not only lies with transmitting the disease to the communities, but to the law enforcement agencies that serve those communities. Suspending classes is the best preventative measure we can take.” KLETC staff will continue to work during the suspension of classes to evaluate the situation and to do what is possible to reduce this new burden for the agencies. In accordance with federal recommendations, KLETC will be suspending large gatherings involving KLETC graduations, and currently are working on a virtual solution for those who still want to watch the graduation ceremony.
“As the Director of Police Training, I consider this as an announcement that the training center is “closed or otherwise will not conduct basic training courses” as used in KAR 106-3-2,” Beck said. “Students, therefore, may work as an officer during this three week period.
Unified School District 231
As of March 15, Randy Watson, Kansas Education Commissioner strongly recommends that those schools currently coming off of spring break, suspend operations
for the week March 16-20. All schools scheduled for spring break the week of March 16-20 will continue as planned.
Closing all schools during this same period of time provides Kansas officials the time needed to finalize a comprehensive plan for how to address COVID-19.
It is critical that we all follow a coordinated response to this situation. This announcement does not directly impact districts in Johnson County, as all districts are on Spring Break from March 16-20, 2020.
All Johnson County school districts will continue to work closely with Johnson County government, including the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, to take proactive steps to address student, staff and community safety. Families should continue to proactively make plans for the very real possibility of a school closure beyond Spring Break. As this remains a fluid and evolving situation, we will keep families updated as more information becomes available from Johnson County officials and the Kansas State Department of Education. USD 231 officials decided to keep schools open for the time being and they will be in consultation with state directives during spring break. They suggested the following precautionary measures on their website:
•Get a flu shot.
•Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
•If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard the tissue in the trash.
•Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
•Stay home when you are sick.
•Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
More information is online at www.cdc.gov or www.kdheks.go
Gardner Lake Association
The Gardner Lake Association has cancelled its meeting planned for March 28. Most groups and organizations have cancelled regularly scheduled meetings, and the Center for Disease Control has recommended gatherings be of no more than 50 people together at a time.