TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ Republican attorney general said Thursday that he believes both counties and local school districts can exempt themselves from the Democratic governor’s coronavirus-inspired order requiring schools to have staff and students wear masks.
Gov. Laura Kelly replied in a scathing statement that Attorney General Derek Schmidt is wrong and that he and fellow Republicans have “only created more hurdles and uncertainty” during the pandemic. Schmidt’s comments in an Associated Press interview represented the latest instance in which a Republican has undercut an action by Kelly aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus.
Republican officials and conservatives outside government have argued that it’s inappropriate for Kelly to impose “one-size fits all” measures — and hurt the economy — while the rate of reported new coronavirus cases varies widely across the state. Kelly has pointed to a coronavirus resurgence in recent weeks that has pushed the total confirmed cases past 24,000 and COVID-19-related deaths past 300.