Student Issues

Governor urges schools to abide by executive order on masks, other COVID-19 precautions

As Kansas schools prepare to start a new year, Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday urged districts to abide by her executive order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Kelly’s comments came during a conversation over zoom with a group of teachers from across the state and state Sen. Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, and then a short news conference. Kelly issued Executive Order 20-59, which took effect Monday, that requires masking, social distancing, hand sanitizing and temperature checks in all K-12 schools. “I am firm believer if we are going to bring folks back together in groups we have to implement all the safety...

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Federal COVID-19 funds will help early childhood care in Kansas

The recent allocation of federal COVID-19 funds by state leaders will help early childhood care in Kansas, officials said Wednesday. Allocations approved earlier this month by the State Finance Council included $9.9 million in early childhood investments. About $4.8 million will be used to fund seven Child Care Health Consultants — at least one for all public health regions in Kansas. These consultants will help child care facilities prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide COVID emergency kits to children. About $3 million of those funds will be available for an early childhood workforce health fund. This would cover early child care...

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Attorney General’s opinion says county commissions, school boards can opt out of Governor’s school order

Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a formal opinion Tuesday that county commissions can modify or repeal Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order dealing with masks and other requirements in K-12 schools, and that local school boards can make their own decisions in those areas.  On July 20, Kelly issued executive order 20-59, which requires all K-12 schools, public and private, to follow four requirements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19: masks or face coverings for all persons with limited exceptions, social distancing in most areas of the school, and hand sanitizing and temperature checks for all persons upon first entering school....

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KASB `Lunch & Learn’ board leadership session at noon today to focus on COVID-19 funds, “Kansas School Gating Criteria”

Two important issues for education leaders — the just-released Kansas School Gating Criteria and accessing COVID-19 funds — will be the subject of today’s (Wed. Aug. 12) Board Leadership “Lunch and Learn” forum. The session will be held at noon and is open to all KASB member boards of education and district leaders. There is no registration fee, however, pre-registration is required to receive access to the online sessions via Zoom. Here is a link to register. KASB guest Monica Murnan will provide important information to school leaders on accessing funds distributed by the state to counties for COVID-19 expenses. These...

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State medical groups offer guidance determining on-site, hybrid and remote learning

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday accepted a new set of criteria local district officials can use to determine when schools should be open for onsite learning and other activities based on trends in COVID-19 cases.  The “Kansas School Gating Criteria” document was put together with input from the University of Kansas Pediatrics, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and education leaders who headed committees that produced KSDE’s Navigating Change guidelines.   The new medical guidance suggests that the learning model (onsite, hybrid or remote), student activities and access...

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Implementation of recommendations to improve dyslexia services may be delayed

The State Board of Education is considering a delay in some recommendations made last year to improve dyslexia services for students in Kansas public schools. The delays are needed in part because the Legislature adjourned the 2020 session early due to the COVID-19 pandemic without having funded a dyslexia coordinator position, Kansas State Department of Education staff said Tuesday. Implementation of recommendations from a task force on dyslexia were further complicated when Kansas school buildings were shut down in March because of the coronavirus. State Board of Education Chair Kathy Busch, of Wichita, said the desire is there implement the recommendations, but...

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KSDE unveils `Kansas Schools Gating Criteria’

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Tuesday released recommendations for schools to consider when determining on-site, hybrid and remote learning options during the COVID-19 pandemic. The color-coded “Kansas Schools Gating Criteria” was put together by education and health officials and meant as suggestions for schools, said Watson. He said school boards and administrators should use these suggested thresholds in consultation with local and state health officials to determine what is the best option to keep students safe. “The local school districts have to wrestle with the details of this,” Watson said. He said school boards across the state are working hard to...

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State approval of $60 million for broadband expansion could help K-12 students

K-12 students could benefit from a decision Monday by state leaders to spend $60 million in federal COVID-19 funds to expand broadband service in Kansas. The decision by Gov. Laura Kelly and state legislative leaders meeting as the State Finance Council will allocate $50 million in coronavirus relief funds to private internet service providers to expand broadband to improve tele-health, education and businesses. In addition, $10 million will go toward helping low-income Kansans get high-speed internet. Last week before another panel, Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland said, “The need for connectivity has never been more pressing and urgent.” KASB sent...

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Schools need to talk with county officials about use of COVID funds

School district officials should be working with their local county officials to access federal COVID-19 funds to help pay for the additional costs to educate students caused by the pandemic. That’s the advice of Monica Murnan, Director of Student Support Services with the Greenbush education service center, which is assisting counties in dealing with the state Office of Recovery, which recommends allocation of those federal funds. Murnan spoke to about 50 Kansas education leaders during KASB’s Advocacy Update via zoom on Friday. Here is a link to a video of the event. Through the CARES Act federal stimulus package, states received...

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KSDE: Frequently asked questions about Gov. Kelly’s executive order on schools and COVID-19

KSDE has released a list of questions and answers related to Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order requiring COVID-19 mitigation procedures in K-12 schools. The order, which takes effect Monday (Aug. 10), requires masks, social distancing, hand sanitizing and temperature checks in schools. Numerous questions have arisen from school officials about the order. Here is a link to the executive order and here is a link to KSDE’s Frequently Asked Questions. Also, please go to KASB's Reopening Resources webpage for more local, state and federal information on COVID-19 and reopening school buildings.

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