BY JOHN HANNA, AP Political writer
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Governor Laura Kelly said Monday she had no plans to issue Kansas vaccination records to help vaccinated residents travel, shop and eat more freely.
The Democratic governor also signed a largely symbolic measure, approved by Republican-controlled legislation, to oblige public schools to provide full-time education to all students for the remainder of the current semester. Almost all of the state’s 286 local school districts already have the most students attending class in person, according to the State Department of Education.
Vaccination passports, which verify people’s vaccination status, have become a political focus in the US as they are used in Israel and developed in Europe. Some Republicans in the US view them as persistent government interference.
Kelly said she is focused on making sure people are tested and vaccinated for COVID-19.
“I’m not interested in vaccination records,” she told reporters. “We will not issue these under my authority.”
New COVID-19 cases have declined sharply in Kansas in the past few months. The data from the state health ministry showed an average of just 195 new cases per day for the seven days up to Monday, the lowest rolling seven-day average since the end of June 2020.
Kansas has only added 354 cases to its pandemic since Friday, which equates to 303,227. A review of the death certificates also caused the health department to deduct five deaths from the pandemic total since Friday and lower them to 4,927.
The school reopening move was driven by the Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican from Andover. He and other GOP lawmakers said distance learning hurts many children both academically and emotionally. Republicans are still criticizing Kelly for closing all K-12 buildings from mid-March 2020 through the end of the spring semester.
But Kelly said Monday that with schools open, “It’s kind of a point of contention.”
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