Kansas Coronavirus Cases

As of June 3, Kansas reported 10,170 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 222 have resulted in death. Ford County has the majority of cases with 1,804 reported.

Source: Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Kansas Family Celebrates High School Graduation of Sextuplets

In the middle of the coronavirus crisis, one family in Kansas is celebrating the momentous high school graduation of its sextuplets.

The Headrick sextuplets, whose birth in 2002 was a national sensation, graduated from Norwich High School earlier in May.

“I can’t even put into words how proud we are of them,” said Sondra, their 51-year-old mother, in an interview with TODAY Parents. “But at the same time, you know, we’re a little sad.”

She’s sad because the siblings will be leaving home in the fall, going in different directions.

Ethan, one of the boys, heads off to Wichita State University, where he will be majoring in technical networking. Sean is going to Cowley College where he will e studying Cyber Security. Grant, the most extraverted of the boys, will not be going to any university. He has decided to take a gap year.

“He’s going to continue working and figure out what he wants to do next,” Sondra explained.

Of the girls, Jaycie is headed to Pratt Community College where she will be majoring in elementary education. Danielle and Melissa have decided to attend Hutchinson Community College together where they will be studying animation and graphic design respectively.

“Melissa and Danielle won’t be roommates but they want to be on the same floor so they can check on each other,” Sondra said. “The girls are really extremely close. They’ll stay up late talking about everything.”

The sextuplets’ mother has forecasted that the first few days of their separation will be “an awakening” for them.

“They’ve always been together,” she said

Although the sextuplets were unable to attend prom or spend some time with their classmates due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent school closure, they are happy they got the chance to spend some extra time with their family before leaving for college.

“None of us want to admit it, I think we’re all pretty excited to like, find our own path, like, by ourselves,” said Jaycie.

“We’ll definitely still keep in touch and whatnot, but it will be different. It will just be new. Something, we haven’t really experienced this year,” said Grant

The family has said they will be deferring real celebration plans till July.

"One way to respect everyone working so hard to keep us safe is by wearing a mask in public and encouraging our family, friends, and coworkers to do the same."

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, on the request for residents to wear face masks when in public spaces.

Kansas Senator Recommends Removal of State Secretary of Labor Over Unpaid Unemployment Benefits Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Robert Olson, a Republican Senator in Kansas, said on Thursday at a committee hearing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, that the Kansas State Secretary of Labor, Delia Garcia, deserved to be removed for the untimely delays in the payment of unemployment privileges to Kansans.

Garcia does not see it that way. The Secretary has been overwhelmed with the wave of unemployment cases that came with the coronavirus pandemic. The number of new applications has swelled by about 236,000 since the pandemic began. In 2019, Kansas paid unemployment benefits to 8,130 people in the month of May. This year, May has seen the state owing unemployment benefits to about 115,500 Kansans. With this surge in applications, a backlog has been formed, overwhelming the systems in the Department of Labor and making it nearly impossible to send payments to unemployed individuals.

“If you take the job, it’s your responsibility,” said Olson, a legislator from Olathe who has been open about his opposition to Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive orders which closed down businesses and schools in March.

“In other states, this is not happening. In other states, this agency is working. In Kansas, it’s broke. Our governor and secretary of labor, they’re not acting like this is a crisis in this agency.”

Olson said he could imagine the number of starving children or parents unable to make their mortgage and car payments because the labor department was being incompetent.

Olson also attended an in-person hearing with members of the Senate Commerce Committee at the Capitol. At the hearing, various individuals gave their testimony about the way unemployment benefits were processed and how they were affected by the recent executive orders of the governor that allowed some businesses to open while others remained closed.

Luke Aichele is a barber from McPherson who was threatened with arrest for defying local orders from health officials and reopening his barbershop. He said the “reckless political decisions” that ended with the forced closure of barbershops, beauty shops, and other small businesses were a source of great distress. According to him, it is mostly people who have not had their commercial activities or paychecks cut off or had to wait on an unemployment check that never came, who are in favor of the current restrictions.

“By the government taking this action, it is showing great bias and discrimination,” Aichele said. “Governor Kelly is picking winners and losers. Unfortunately, she has deemed me and my family non-essential and on the losing end.”

According to Aichele, Kansas government officials would have found a better way to handle the situation if their paychecks were denied until people like himself got their unemployment benefits or went back to work.

Unemployment Rate in Kansas as of March 2020: 3.1%

Number of initial unemployment claims filed in Kansas in the week ending May 2: 24,483+ Number of initial unemployment claims filed in the previous week - 18,281

Adequacy of housing policies in response to COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas as of May 2020: 2.33

Source: statistica.com

Surrounding States

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