Schools could implement mask dress code

John Richmeier
jrichmeier@leavenworthtimes.com

A dress code for Leavenworth public schools could be extended to masks for the upcoming school year.

Leavenworth Superintendent Mike Roth said students will be asked to provide their own masks, which they will be required to wear at school. And the masks will be required to be school appropriate, the same as other pieces of a student’s attire.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed an executive order Monday that requires “all students, faculty, staff, vendors and other visitors” to cover their mouths and noses with masks or other face coverings at all times while at schools across the state.

The order is intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

The order allows exceptions including for people who have medical conditions that would prevent them from wearing face coverings.

Prior to the governor’s order, officials with the Leavenworth public schools had already been planning to have employees wear masks. And they had been discussing requiring at least some of the students to wear masks, Roth said.

He said guidelines provided by the Kansas State Department of Education had highly recommended having students in grades seven through 12 wear masks. He said district officials had been discussing what other age groups of students should be asked to wear masks.

“The governor’s order helps solve that,” he said.

Roth said the plan for how Leavenworth school officials will address students who violate the mask requirement is still being fine tuned. But he said school officials are leaning toward treating such cases as dress code violations.

“So we would follow a dress code violation protocol,” he said.

The governor’s order includes other requirements for schools including people maintaining a distance of six feet from each other. However, this requirement does not apply to in-person instruction in classrooms when people are wearing masks.

The order also requires that hand sanitizer be made available in all classrooms and throughout other areas of schools. The order calls for teachers and students to sanitize their hands at regular intervals and no less than once an hour.

The order also calls for people to have their temperatures checked before they enter school buildings for the first time each day.

Roth said he is waiting on additional information about this requirement from the state government.

He said the district may also have to take temperatures of students before they get on school buses in the morning.

“We’re still getting more clarity on that,” he said.

Members of the Leavenworth Board of Education will meet Monday to review a proposed plan for reopening the schools in the district.

Kelly signed a separate executive order Monday that would delay the reopening of schools until after Labor Day.

This order prevents “attendance, instruction, athletic practice or competition, rehearsal, performance, or other interaction of an instructional manner – including virtual, online, and any other direct or indirect means of providing instruction – between faculty/staff and students of public or private K-12 schools from August 10, 2020, through Sept. 8, 2020.”

This order requires approval from the Kansas State Board of Education before it can go into effect. The state school board is scheduled to meet today to discuss the order.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR