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Fears about opening Kansas schools drive state’s mask order

Coronavirus in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters about the coronavirus pandemic after a meeting with legislative leaders, Thursday, July 2, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Kelly has issued an order to require people to wear masks in public and at their workplaces. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ governor and its top public health official worry that the state won’t be able to reopen its K-12 schools for the new school year in August if it doesn’t reverse a recent surge in reported coronavirus cases.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly told legislative leaders that a desire to reopen schools is a key reason for her executive order she issued Thursday to require Kansas residents to wear masks in public and their workplaces.

The order takes effect Friday. Some Republican legislative leaders criticized the order as going too far, but state officials don’t expect strict enforcement. Counties can opt out of the mandate. 

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