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Governor Kelly announces school executive orders, Kansas BOE to vote on E.O. 20-58 this week

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced school executive orders on Monday aimed at delaying the reopening of the state’s K-12 public schools for three weeks from mid-August to after Labor Day.

Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order #20-59 Monday and shared the details for Executive Order #20-58. Executive Order #20-58 can only be signed if the Kansas Board of Education votes to approve her order. Executive Order #20-58 delays schools from beginning any student instruction from August through September 8. Executive Order #20-59 outlines mitigation procedures schools must take to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Kansas students and teachers.

“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,” Governor Laura 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.”  

“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.”

Executive Order #20-58 will also include athletics and all other extracurricular activities.

Exceptions will be made for:

  1. Students enrolled concurrently to receive college credit;
  2. Enrollment of students for the 2020-2021 school year may occur in K-12 schools;
  3. Screenings and evaluations of students to determine accommodations and placement needs for the 2020-2021 school year.

Executive Order #20-59 will mandate face coverings for all students, faculty, staff, vendors, and other visitors to public or private K-12 school buildings or facilities.

Exceptions will be made for:

  1. Eating;
  2. Activities that cannot be safely conducted with a mask or other face covering;
  3. Children who are not students and are 5 years of age or under;
  4. Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
  5. Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  6. Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work.

The Executive Order will mandate six feet 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 that all students and faculty must sanitize their hands no less than once every hour.

All individuals entering must have their temperatures checked before entering the building.

To view E.O. #20-58, click here.

To view E.O. #20-59, click here.

On Monday, the Kansas State Board of Education announced they will conduct a Special State Board meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2020.  The meeting will be conducted by video conference and will be streamed live for the public to observe and listen.

It is amid the surge in coronavirus cases. On Monday, the latest number pushed Kansas past 23,000 and reported COVID-19 deaths past 300.

The state health department said Monday that Kansas’ total cases grew by 6.2% since Friday. The department said there were 1,369 new cases to bring the total to 23,334. The agency reported eight new COVID-19-related deaths for a total of 307.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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