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Governor closes Kansas schools, puts most state employees on administrative leave

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly announced Tuesday that all Kansas K-12 schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the coronavirus.

Governor Kelly and Dr. Randy Watson, the Commissioner for the Kansas State Department of Education, said this affects almost half-a-million students who are in state-accredited schools. That includes parochial and private schools.

A continuous learning task force will announce Wednesday afternoon what the plans are for continuing education for students. Watson says the task force members are aware that a lot of students do not have access to computers or the internet.

“Every family will have to make some determination of how learning should go forward,” he said.

The Kansas Department of Education responded later Tuesday in a Tweet, echoing Dr. Randy Watson:

CLARIFICATION: Governor Kelly didn’t cancel school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. She closed school buildings. Schools will be working to implement Continuous Learning plans for all students.

KS Dept of Education @ksdehq

Districts are being asked to provide food options. USD 259 will start lunches next Wednesday. More information from the Wichita district will be provided in emails.

The KNEA says it supports the decision to close the schools.

The following schools have posted announcements:

Also Tuesday, Governor Kelly announced that effective March 23, most state employees will be directed to stay home for two weeks on administrative leave to minimize additional risks for exposure to the coronavirus.

She said some state offices, such as the attorney general, the secretary of state, and the insurance commissioner, will make their own decisions.


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