Reopening Kansas schools: What’s next?

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TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly signed an executive order on Monday that delays the start of Kansas schools until after Labor Day, but that executive order isn’t final until the Kansas State School Board approves it.

Ann Mah, Kansas State School Board member, said they’re looking at what’s next.

“So I have been pulling parents, teachers, superintendents, community members and I can tell you by a vast majority my constituents are encouraging me to support the Governor’s order,” Mah said.

Her constituents’ feedback contrasts a statement from Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, which said, “My hope remains that the board sticks to the plan they developed to open schools safely rather than sign off a one-size-fits-all mandate. The legislature intended to pass these decisions on to local governing authorities, where teachers, parents and health care professionals all have a voice and can, in a collaborative manner, do what is best for their children and their community.”

In her statement, Wagle also encouraged parents and “stakeholders” to call on state school board members to reject the Governor’s order.

The pushback echos a question that has been asked throughout the pandemic; does “one size fit all” for more densely-populated counties of eastern Kansas and rural parts of western Kansas that have seen lower positive coronavirus numbers.

On Wednesday, the Kansas State School Board will meet to vote whether they will accept ‘Executive Order 20-58’ to delay the start of the school year. If they reject it, they could draft a different plan for schools across Kansas.

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