Kelly Administration Updates COVID-19 Guidance for School Districts
~$87 million in ELC grants available for local school districts to protect students~
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced a new, updated summary document created from recommendations in KSDE’s Navigating Change: Kansas’ Guide to Learning and School Safety Operations as a reference guide and tool for schools ahead of the start of classes. The document continues the state’s practice of mirroring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to the guidance, Governor Kelly and KSDE are encouraging school districts to submit requests for ELC Grant Funds. The state of Kansas received $87 million to fund equipment, testing, and medical staff to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
“We know our children belong in the classroom, but it’s critical that we provide Kansas school districts with support and tools they need to keep our kids safe,” Governor Kelly said. “This guidance is in line with what we have made available over the last year, but has been modified to incorporate the best information we have to fight the Delta variant. I encourage school districts to follow the science and use the available funds to keep their kids safe.”
Many Kansas school districts have already made requests for ELC funds. Including for clinical and administrative staff as well as equipment with mobile technology to create and support the most flexible COVID-19 testing plans possible. In more rural areas requests include transportation to share staff between school buildings and to transport sick children. Others have opted to use ELC funds for vaccination events including incentives and communications in the community.
“We are thankful for the leadership provided by Governor Kelly and Secretary Norman,” Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson said. “We want every student to be in the classroom this fall. To ensure this happens, school districts should continue partnering with their local medical teams to implement safety protocols that protect all students and school personnel.”
The Kelly Administration worked to develop guidance that would ensure that districts across Kansas would be equipped with the best possible information as they prepared to bring their students back for full-time, in-person learning in August. The Kelly Administration will continue to issue new guidance as information is provided from the CDC.
“To ensure everyone remains safe as schools resume in August, it is key for schools and communities to work together,” Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) said. “We urge school districts to use the ELC resources for additional support. And, we encourage communities to continue taking precautions to mitigate the virus, including vaccination and testing. If individuals are not vaccinated, please wear a mask in public. If you’re feeling sick, get tested, practice social distancing and stay home.”
The State of Kansas began a robust, statewide PSA campaign to encourage Kansans to get vaccinated ahead of the July 4th holiday that will continue throughout year.