Kansans need advocates who can work within the community when dealing with Covid-related government overreach, especially in schools.
During the pandemic, Republican leadership in the legislature put an end to many of Governor Kelly’s strong-hand tactics that lasted well past their necessary usefulness. But that hasn’t stopped local governmental entities from continuing restrictive policies and procedures that are basically echoes of Kelly’s top-down approach.
Many school districts across Kansas are using KDHE recommendations and translating them into requirements. There are examples across the state of schools with required weekly testing of student-athletes, fully-masked schools, extreme quarantine procedures for students, and even school administration calling for vaccine mandates or teachers calling for school closures.
Are KDHE recommendations actually requirements? All of them? Some of them? Who outside of the political world can give the final word?
Extreme reactions to Covid by school districts end up hurting the process of education rather than ensuring the health and safety of students. At least in our area of the state, we have been living normal lives everywhere except inside school buildings and healthcare facilities. Show me one place other than those where life is different because of Covid.
Why the difference? Healthcare facilities obviously have to put measures in place, but why schools? Despite the spread of the Delta variant, the data still proves there is statistically almost zero risk of severe illness for children ages 0-18 who have COVID-19. This is an older person’s disease, and adults have the vaccination available to them.
So what is our recourse? When our kids are faced with forced masking, required COVID testing or excessive quarantines in schools, what do we do?
Even though Governor Kelly often forced statewide mandates on us last year, we know the best decisions are made locally. This has not changed. We need to constantly assess the local situation and what the communities demand, and then we need to work with our school boards and administration for more fitting measures on the local level and not limit ourselves to what the government folks in Topeka say.