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Kindergartners exempt from Sedgwick County mask order as commissioners debate other revisions

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 9:49 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A revised order for Sedgwick County set to take place at midnight will exempt students in kindergarten classes from wearing masks. The county released the revision made by Local Health Officer Gerald Minns on Wednesday.

The revision states children five and under, and in kindergarten are exempt from the mask mandate, at the discretion of the school. Most schools in the county that have returned to in-person learning require masks for all students, including kindergartners.

Along with the mask revision, bars and night clubs will be allowed to stay open until 1 a.m. and operate at 50% of the fire code capacity.

The order continues Phase 2 of the Ad Astra Plan which allows groups of up to 15 people that must be located at least six feet away from other groups. Events and business occupancy are not capped at 15 people. Individuals in public gatherings are still required to wear a mask.

Sedgwick County Commissioners discussed the order at Wednesday’s meeting.

Commissioner Jim Howell proposed his own revised order which he said simplifies Dr. Minns' confusing language. Howell said, in his order, the mask mandate would read: “If you’re around other people, wear a mask. If not, don’t wear a mask.” Howell’s order does not have any curfew or guidelines for bars and nightclubs because he said those businesses shouldn’t be targeted.

Commissioners decided it would be best to wait until Dr. Minns was available to answer their questions and get clarity before voting on the revisions.

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