Governor Laura Kelly signed executive order No. 20-58 on Monday, which will delay the start of the school year statewide until after Labor Day.
“This impacts only our school districts, not our county commissioners. This cannot be rescinded,” Kelly said. “The State Board of Education can vote against it, but all they are going to do is delay it and I don’t see why they would want to do this at this current time.”
Kelly opened the press conference saying that Kansas just surpassed its 300th death over the weekend and is seeing record numbers across the state after the Fourth of July.
“This is not something just affecting metro areas. There was a public plea for prayers in Logan, Kansas. It’s a small community that recently had an outbreak that has left over half of 35 residents of a nursing home infected. Several people within the community are also infected. Of the community’s 500 residents, over 50 percent are over the age of 50. Over 60 percent of those residents are over the age of 65,” she said.
“Over the weekend, we had a Republican campaign come against me trying to influence voters on the State Board of Education. I ask these leaders to put aside political parties and start thinking about the 500,000 students we have across the state. Studies have shown that children can infect anyone just as efficiently as an adult. This past week in Florida, over one-third of students tested for the coronavirus came up positive.”
While the governor has already signed Executive Order No. 20-58, she has yet to sign No. 20-59. This order mandates that masks have to be worn by everyone when school resumes unless the child is under 5 years old or someone is on a drink or lunch break.
“Commissioners do have the authority to rescind this order. The same counties that voted against my mask mandate have seen increases in the number of cases,” she said. “I ask that you speak to your commissioners and ask that they rethink their position and require masks.”
This second order also requires students and staff to sanitize their hands and work areas every hour of the school day, and to have their temperatures taken before entrance into the school.