Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order signed on Monday to delay the start of schools in the state until Sept. 9 was officially not affirmed by the Kansas Board of Education Wednesday morning in a 5-5 vote.
Executive Order No. 20-58 required a vote of 6-4 to pass, but now individual districts will have to decide for themselves.
“I will continue to use every resource and tool available to this administration to protect Kansans and keep our economy open for business, regardless of the political pushback,” Kelly said. “The additional three weeks will provide schools time to work with their counties to get the necessary mitigation supplies like masks, thermometers and hand sanitizer, while providing local districts time to thoroughly review the curriculum options from the State Board of Education to figure out what strategy is best for their district.”
Order No. 20-58 would’ve included athletics and all other extracurricular activities.
Some of the exceptions to the order were students enrolled to receive college credit, enrollment of students for the 2020-2021 school year and screenings and evaluations of students to determine accommodations and placement needs.
“Putting nearly half a million kids and faculty in daily, large gatherings is the exact opposite of what health experts have urged us to do,” Kelly said.
Kelly said she hopes that districts will still look to aim for that delayed start despite the vote.
“The cases of COVID-19 in Kansas are at an all-time high and continue to rise. Our decisions must be informed by public health experts not politics. This vote puts our students, faculty, their families and our economy at risk,” Kelly said. “I will continue to work with our school districts to ensure the safety and well-being of our children and ask every school district to delay the start of school.”
Executive Order No. 20-59 will mandate face coverings for all students, faculty, staff, vendors and other visitors to public or private school buildings or facilities.
Exceptions include when someone is eating and children who are not students and are 5 years of age or under.
The executive order will mandate six feet of social distancing, except for in-person instruction in classrooms when masks or other face coverings are worn.
The order will also require hand sanitizer in all classrooms, and all students and faculty must sanitize their hands no less than once every hour.
Finally, all individuals entering schools must have their temperatures checked before entering the building.