Preparation against coronavirus: Pandemic scare spurs Shawnee area event cancellations

Vicky O. Misa

Because of the growing number of coronavirus cases across the country, many municipalities are taking preparatory measures to avoid an outbreak — including Shawnee. Residents should note some scheduled events that have now been canceled:


Amber DuBoise-Shepherd, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art manager of education and outreach, announced Thursday the cancellation of an event planned for this weekend.

After learning that Shawnee Schools canceled Friday, along with all school activities and functions that may have occurred Spring Break for health concerns, she said the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art made the decision to cancel its Free Community Art Day that was to happen Saturday. For questions or concerns call MGMoA at (405) 878-5300 or email


Library programs and room bookings will be halted as of March 15, Christian Potts, marketing and communications representative with the Pioneer Library System, said Thursday.

“Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting staff and customers from the spread of the novel coronavirus strain COVID-19, the Pioneer Library System is canceling all programs, events, meeting room bookings and outreach activities beginning Sunday, March 15, through the end of March,” he said.

At this time, all libraries will remain open to the public for their regular hours, he explained.

“Fines on overdue materials will be temporarily suspended, checkout periods and hold times will be extended and materials on hold will be mailed to readers who do not wish to visit the library in person,” he said.

Readers also are encouraged to look at the library’s downloadable services available online at

Potts also said the library has instituted elevated cleaning measures in all buildings.

“Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are being provided to staff and customers,” he said. “And anti-microbial keyboards are being added to public access computers as they become available.”

Library leadership will continue to monitor the situation daily and a decision on April programs and room bookings will be made closer to the end of the month.

SEFF's Redbud Festival, also May Block Party

SEFF announced Thursday, “Based on the information provided to us by local emergency management professionals, health professionals, and at the recommendation of CDC protocol, we are canceling two of our upcoming events.”

The Shawnee Redbud Festival scheduled for April 17 and the Downtown Block Party scheduled for May 15 are canceled.

“We care deeply about Shawnee and look forward to hosting future events,” SEFF President Dell Kerbs said. “However, based on the information we have, and at the recommendation of the professionals in our community, we are canceling these events to help keep our community healthy.”

Watch for updates.