Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Thursday that he believes both counties and local school districts can exempt themselves from Gov. Laura Kelly's coronavirus-inspired order requiring schools to have staff and students wear masks.


The Republican attorney general said during an Associated Press interview that he told the Democratic governor's office his opinion before Kelly issued the order Monday. The order also requires daily temperature checks for staff and students.


Kelly has said neither counties nor local school districts can opt out, unlike an order she issued July 2 to require people to wear masks in public places.


Schmidt's comments came a day after a plan from Kelly to delay the reopening of public and private K-12 schools from mid-August until after Labor Day was rejected by the GOP-controlled State Board of Education on a 5-5 vote.


A law enacted in June required the state board's approval of an order keeping school buildings closed and allowed counties to opt out of other Kelly health orders. Schmidt said that law allows counties to opt out of Kelly's order on masks in schools.


Schmidt said the state constitution grants school districts the power to opt out, as well.