Kelly hopes schools re-open in August but says if not, Kansas has `gold standard’ continuous learning program

Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday said she hopes schools can re-open in August but added that if not, Kansas has developed “the gold standard” for continuous learning.

Kelly was the first governor in the country to close schools for the remainder of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic when she issued an executive order on March 17. The order also called for a continuous learning plan.

Two days later, a task force headed by Kansas teachers developed guidelines for continuous learning that focused on online instruction, lesson packets and small group teaching. Many states have borrowed from the Kansas plan. Forty other states have since closed schools for the year.

Asked at her daily briefing on pandemic developments if schools would re-open in August, Kelly said she hoped so but noted that some health officials estimate a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

“Fortunately, Kansas put in what has really become the gold standard for continuous learning guidelines,” Kelly said, crediting teachers and administrators. She also said schools have implemented meal programs, mental health services and child care for front line health and safety workers.

“So, we have the model. I hope that we don’t have to use it in August but if the wave comes back in October or November, we already know what to do,” Kelly said.

She added, “I want the schools open, I want Friday night football, I want all of that to happen. That is our goal but we are going to be prepared for either one.”

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