(Headline USA) Democrat Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, who is seeking reelection this November, said she makes “absolutely no apologies” for shutting down schools during the COVID-19 pandemic despite the disastrous learning losses children have suffered as a result.
“We in Kansas had to take a look at what do we know, what do we have, and what we need to do to make sure we keep our people safe,” Kelly said during the Kansas Chamber’s 2022 candidate conversations event on Wednesday.
“So, when I look at what we did, I know everybody thinks about the sort of dramatic decision to close our schools and to be the first governor to close them for the entire year,” Kelly said. “I’ll make no apologies for that.”
Kelly was the first governor in America to order K-12 schools to shut down for the remainder of the school year in March 2020. She said the decision was the result of not having “knowledge [on] how the virus spreads,” “testing,” or “tools” to combat the virus effectively.
Jim Denning, a former Republican member of the Kansas state Senate, blasted Kelly for harming the state’s children.
“Kelly calls herself the ‘education’ governor. Truth is, no governor has presided over more damage to Kansas students in our state’s history,” Denning wrote in a recent op-ed.
School closures were “Kelly’s decision and hers alone,” he added.
“Student achievement in math, English and reading tumbled as a result. Those statistics simply reflect what Kansas parents already know: Their child suffered through remote learning and has fallen behind as a result,” Denning said.
“Our children’s mental health and wellness have also deteriorated from Kelly’s hurried lockdown. Isolation led to a rise in teen anxiety, depression and thoughts about suicide.”
Kelly faces off in the general election against Republican Derek Schmidt in November.