KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

Advice on safe onsite learning in Kansas schools

As Kansas schools begin to reopen this fall, school leaders are making decisions on how to do so safely.  The Kansas State Board of Education accepted new recommendations on “gating,” or deciding what activities should be allowed at various levels of COVID-19 risk. Once those decisions are made, the next step is deciding how to operate safely when schools are open.  National Public Radio reporters consulted pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts about advice for opening and operating schools. KASB compared that advice with these documents:  Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order 20-59 on school health and safety requirements.  The Kansas...

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Poll suggests unease about school reopening; urban-rural differences

A poll of Kansas likely voters released Aug. 12 by Survey USA includes a question about attitudes toward opening schools for in-classroom instruction. The response helps show why school leaders are struggling over how to open school and why school districts have taken different paths.  Unfortunately, the question posed in the poll is inaccurate. The survey states: “The Kansas Board of Education is requiring all public schools to open for in-classroom learning as scheduled on August 10. Do you agree or disagree with this decision?”  However, the State Board did NOT require schools to open for onsite learning on August 10. It stopped an executive order from Governor Laura Kelly that would have kept schools from opening before Labor Day. The vote did not mean...

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Differences in COVID measures complicate school operating decisions

Questions about when and how to reopen Kansas schools this fall – and how to keep them operating – have become perhaps the most contentious issues this generation of Kansas school leaders have ever faced.  The State Board of Education’s vote on whether to approve Governor Laura Kelly’s plan to delay all schools’ start dates until after Labor Day created more than 1,000 pages of public comment and tens of thousands of individual responses on the State Department of Education webpage. The State Board rejected Kelly’s proposal on a tie vote, which left the reopening decision to local school boards.  Local boards are facing bitter criticism – possibly up to physical threats – no...

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