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TOPEKA, Kan. — To help protect Kansas students, teachers, and staff from the threat of the delta variant of COVID-19, Governor Laura Kelly on Wednesday announced the Safer Classrooms Workgroup.

According to Kelly’s office, the workgroup will be composed of highly skilled health professionals from across Kansas, will highlight the urgency of protecting kids from COVID-19 and use the best available science and information to support Kelly’s administration, local governments, and school districts to promote health and safety in our schools. 

“Children are catching the virus, being hospitalized, and dying from COVID at increasingly higher rates,” Kelly said. “There’s nothing more important than keeping our students healthy and in the classroom.

Kelly said the Safer Classrooms Workgroup will provide information and guidance to give parents, teachers, school boards, and others the tools they need to make informed decisions to protect students and communities.

The Safer Classrooms Workgroup will be composed of pediatricians, family physicians, school nurses, pharmacists, school psychologists, and other health professionals. They will meet weekly to highlight the urgency of protecting our kids from the Delta variant, speaking with educators, parents, and advocates about their experiences as schools work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  

Kelly’s office said every week, the workgroup will release a “School Safety Report” to serve as a resource for media, parents, schools, communities, and policymakers. 

Information in this weekly report will include:

  • Timely and relevant policies on testing and masking in schools, and best practices that can be shared across school districts.
  • Updates on school districts with clearly communicated quarantine, testing, and masking policies, to ensure parents and families have what they need to know to keep their children safe.
  • Information on school district vaccination and testing events – with resources to help schools plan, publicize, and implement.
  • County-level data on youth vaccinations, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. 
  • Schools with active outbreaks. 

“We got our kids back in school by listening to health professionals, wearing masks, implementing stringent public health protocol, and getting vaccinated,” Kelly said. “We’ll keep them there by continuing to follow the best health practices. I encourage all Kansans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Since Monday, Kansas has reported 4,195 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 24 new deaths and 99 new hospitalizations, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.