An executive order that Gov. Laura Kelly will sign Monday to delay the reopening of schools also will make it mandatory that school districts use masks, practice proper hygiene and perform daily temperature checks.
Kelly announced Wednesday during a news conference that she will delay the reopening of schools and said the three-week delay will give school districts and their respective counties to gather supplies, including masks, thermometers and hand sanitizer.
School will be delayed until at least Sept. 9, but COVID-19 data will continue to be monitored to determine whether schools can then be reopened.
The school delay also applies to school activities, including sports, Kelly said.
"The extra three weeks will also allow us to monitor the infection rate and with everyone's help, get our numbers trending downward again," Kelly said. "I cannot in good conscience open schools when Kansas has numerous hot spots where cases are at an all time high and continuing to rapidly rise. Putting nearly half a million kids in daily, large gatherings is the exact opposite of what health experts have encouraged us to do."
Each individual school district’s reopening plan will be based off recommendations and mandates set forth by the Kansas State Board of Education.
The delay will also give superintendents the opportunity to review the board of education’s plan and determine the best strategy for their school districts.
According to Kansas education commissioner Randy Watson, that state plan was approved Wednesday morning.
"We need students in school, we know that," Watson said. "There’s no one that disputes that, but we have to do so with safety as our top priority. Much like the medical community, everyday we are increasing our understanding and awareness of the potential effects of this pandemic."
Watson said each individual school district’s plan should and will look different based upon the needs they have currently and in the future.
It will be critical that schools have the flexibility to adapt to the needs of educators and students, Watson said.