Kansas school leaders in regular communication with health officialsScott Rothschild
Kansas school leaders are in regular communication with top health officials regarding coronavirus and are strictly following guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Several states have ordered the closure of schools, but Kansas has not, although some have elected to start Spring Break a day early.
Over the past couple of days, Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson has emphasized repeatedly that any decision to close a school would be made by health officials — not school administrators nor local school boards.
Asked why universities in Kansas have decided to close while schools haven’t, Watson noted the risk is different at universities because of the international travel of some students and faculty. Also, college students are better equipped to continue their education online.
While e-learning has been touted as a way to provide instruction during a school closure, many public school students don’t have computer devices or internet at home. Public schools must comply with laws to ensure equal access to education to all students, including those with disabilities, and that would be difficult if schools were closed.
If a school is required to close due to COVID-19, the requirement from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is that the school must be closed for a minimum of 14 days following the decision, after which time the communal spread of the virus will be reassessed before the school is cleared to reopen. During this mandated closure, schools will be required to conduct a deep cleaning of the building.
Watson has issued a guidance to schools. Here is a link to that guidance.