News Briefs

Kansas governor directs state employees to work from home

By: - August 25, 2021 5:49 pm

Gov. Laura Kelly is directing all state employees under the purview of the executive branch to resume remote work due to quickly rising COVID-19 case numbers. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Executive branch employees will return to working remotely amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the delta variant, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday.

The governor’s new guidance is a speedy change of direction after state employees began returning to state office buildings in June. Remote work will remain in place through Oct. 4, when infection rates will be reassessed to determine if employees can return to in-person operations.

“The decision to return to remote work was not made lightly — but we know that this is a necessary step to prevent COVID-19 infections,” Kelly said. “I am confident that our state employees will continue to provide quality services to all Kansans who need them.”

Kelly said a shift to remote work should help protect employees and mitigate rapidly rising infection rates. Employees may transition to remote work as soon as possible and no later than Sept. 3, said Department of Administration secretary DeAngela Burns Wallace in a memo.

Onsite staff will be limited to only those needed to conduct agency operations. Other mitigation measures — including masks and social distancing — will remain in effect for those working in-person and for all public offices.

“If an employee was previously able to effectively work remotely, at any point during the pandemic, they should do so again,” Burns-Wallace said. “If an employee is unable to work remotely due to the nature of their job, all necessary precautions and COVID-mitigation measures should be utilized to keep them safe and State of Kansas offices open to the public.”

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.