KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly released more details Monday on two executive orders aimed at protecting students and staff in the fall as they potentially return to school during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly said she intends to sign the first, Executive Order #20-58, after securing approval from the state’s education board later this week.
That order will delay the start of “any student instruction” through Sept. 8. Kelly on Monday said the order also includes athletics and all other extracurriculars.
“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,” Kelly said.
Executive Order #20-58 will exclude students enrolled in classes to earn college credit.
Kelly also said people will be allowed inside school buildings for 2020-2021 enrollment, as well as for any screenings or evaluations to determine student placement or accommodation.
Executive Order #20-59, which the governor has already signed, mandates face coverings for all students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors in K-12 school buildings or facilities.
There will be exceptions, including for eating and activities which can’t be performed safely while wearing a mask.
Children younger than 5 who are not students while not be required to wear a face covering, nor will people with physical or mental health conditions preventing them from safely wearing a mask.
The exception will also apply to people who are deaf or are hard of hearing and those communicating with them, as well as people whose work makes it a risk to wear a mask.
The order also mandates six feet of social distancing, except when face coverings are worn in classrooms during in-person teaching.
Hand sanitizer will be required in every classroom, and students and staff must use it at least once an hour.
The order also calls for temperatures to be taken for every person who enters a school building.
When asked about bottlenecking concerns at entrances due to the temperature checks, Kelly encouraged schools to consider opening more entrances to the building which may have previously been closed for such purposes.
Kansas set a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in a single day Monday.
Kelly again said Kansas is at a crossroads.
“Where Kansas goes from here is up to each and every one of us,” Kelly said. “As Dr. Lee Norman said last week, we can still flatten the curve, and slow the spread of this disease. But that means everybody doing their part, wearing a mask, following the social distancing rules, avoiding mass gatherings and using good hygiene practices.”