Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly discusses plan to delay school until after Labor Day

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 9:10 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - After Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Wednesday announced her plan to issue an executive order for K-12 public schools in the state not to start until after Labor Day, she sat down for an interview with FactFinder 12 investigator Alex Flippin in Topeka.

Alex Flippin: Tell me about the decision today, the thoughts that went into that. Obviously it’s not a one size fit all for all these schools. So how, how was it for you to come up with this plan?

Gov. Kelly: They have to be able to pick and choose from those recommendations, what will work best for their areas. On the other hand, we also know though that we are spiking in the number of positive COVID cases. We are recognizing our national level is one of the real hotspots in the country, and so it would be really wrong of me not to recognize that and not to do something to ensure that when the school districts are ready to implement those plans, that the cases are driven down to where it’s safe to reopen in addition to them being prepared academically.

Alex Flippin: Given what we’re seeing with the Fourth of July, Memorial Day are you concerned with putting them back in school right after Labor Day another holiday.

Gov. Kelly: Well, you have a good point. You know, hopefully, the local counties will go back and issue these mask mandates, we’ll get that in place, you know, which, if that’s in place, and we go to Labor Day weekend, I think we’ll see less of an uptick than we then we will if they don’t. So I’m hoping that they understand the urgency of this and that they’ll get back together and put the mask mandate in place, and then enforce some of the social gathering kinds of concerns that also lead to spikes, (and) avoid the problems over Labor Day. It would be good if we would learn from what happened with Memorial Day, what’s happened with Fourth of July. Let’s not pretend it didn’t happen, and not do anything going into Labor Day.

Alex Flippin: You’d mentioned that in your speech this afternoon. You said there was an increase in politics. Do you want to talk about that?

Gov. Kelly: When you’re dealing with a public health crisis, you know, you’ve got to set aside politics. It just, it’s not in the best interest of anybody whether they’re Republican or Democrat, Independent or nothing. The virus doesn’t care. So, elected officials really do need to set that aside and just look at the data and make decisions based on the data, not on the politics. We can deal with that later.

Alex Flippin: What haven’t I asked you? What do you want to hit on before we get done here?

Gov. Kelly: Well, I think, you know, I just really want Kansans to understand, I think they do. I mean, I get a fair amount of feedback from folks. I think they understand that this really is an unprecedented time and that we all have got to work together to make this go away. Most have been doing that and that’s what we need to get over this.

Alex Flippin: Are we going to get there?

Gov. Kelly: We’re going to get there.

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