Attorney General: Districts Can Opt Out of Governor’s Executive Order

Kansas’ attorney general says that he believes both counties and local school districts can exempt themselves from the governor’s coronavirus-inspired order requiring schools to have staff and students wear masks.

Governor Laura Kelly replied that Attorney General Derek Schmidt is wrong, and that he and fellow Republicans have “created more hurdles and uncertainty” during the pandemic.

Kelly issued a masks-in-schools order, imposing rules for public and private schools that are stricter than guidelines set by the State Board of Education.

It also would require schools to do daily checks for fever on all staff and students.

Schmidt said. “Local school districts have the constitutional authority to opt out.”

Schmidt said he told the governor’s office of his legal opinion before Kelly issued the order.

The law doesn’t give the state board any authority to reject other Kelly orders, but Schmidt said Kansas law gives local districts “home rule” powers to manage their own affairs.

The attorney general added: “The law is what the law is, and it has to be followed or it has to be changed. It can’t simply be ignored.”