Governor Laura Kelly is closing all K-12 schools through the end of the semester, moving instruction online as the state responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kelly’s Tuesday afternoon announcement came as several school districts already had extended spring breaks and colleges and universities had moved to online instruction for the rest of the school year.

Kansas has at least 18 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as the pandemic continues to spread in the state, officials said.  Health officials reported the first cases in Douglas County, home to the
University of Kansas; Miami County, south of the Kansas City metropolitan area;  and Ford County, in southwest Kansas. They reported two more in Johnson County in the Kansas City area, bringing the total in the state’s most populous county to 10. Its neighbor, Wyandotte County, had two new cases, in addition to the only infection resulting in death in Kansas so far. Franklin County in eastern Kansas and Butler County outside of  Wichita each have recorded a case. Kansas health officials said 16 of the cases involve Kansas residents. The Ford County case involves a visitor from Oregon and the Miami County case, someone from Missouri.

The House approved a bill to give laid-off workers another 10 weeks of unemployment benefits.  After the measure cleared a committee Tuesday morning, the chamber canceled all of its remaining committee meetings until further notice.  It also sent office assistants home.