Governor Kelly delayed the opening of K-12 schools in Kansas on Wednesday, until after Labor Day which is Sept. 7th this year. She will issue 2 executive orders, delaying the start and also mandating certain health guidelines for the public schools, including masks.
Kansas has been classified as a COVID-19 Red Zone, due to increasing numbers of cases and spiking hospitalization rates in places like Lawrence and Wichita. Those numbers are expected to climb as we move away from the 4th of July celebrations and the two week incubation period cycle of this virus. Governor Kelly expressed frustration with the number of counties refusing to adopt her administration’s guidance requiring face masks in public places, which went into effect July 3rd and was designed to help prevent a 4th of July surge.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Lee Norman said Kansas successfully flattened the curve before and he is optimistic the state can do it again. In fact, it must if schools are to reopen. “We have a number of incubation periods between now and Sept. 9, we can push it down in two of those periods, as we’ve done before. We must wear masks, we must social distance.”
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson said, “we need students in school…we know that. There’s no one that disputes that, but we have to do that with safety as our top priority.”
The delay will also affect the start of high school sports in Kansas, Kelly said. The KSHSAA after the news conference, delayed their fall sports plan that was to be announced this Friday, in light of the new directives set forth by the governor’s administration. KSHSAA will announce those plans now at an appropriate time in the future.