State Board of Education Says Keep Elementary Schools Open

The state school board is recommending that elementary schools continue in-person classes even if the spread of the coronavirus in their communities is so great that schools otherwise would close.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the State Board of Education updated its pandemic guidance, which many local school districts are following closely.

The change comes after a surge in coronavirus cases across the state over the past month prompted some districts to return to online classes for many or all of their students.

Education Commissioner Randy Watson cited research showing younger students do not get as ill when infected.

The state Department of Health and Environment reported that as of Monday, only 3.3% of the state’s confirmed or probable cases and none of its more than 1,800 deaths for the pandemic were in children 9 years old or younger.

The board also voted to allow local districts to subtract up to 20 hours of professional development for staff from required hours of classroom instruction.