Kansas Supreme Court latest to relax COVID-19 guidelines

FILE - Kansas Supreme Court (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, Pool)
FILE - Kansas Supreme Court (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, Pool)(Orlin Wagner | AP)
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 4:19 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court is the latest to relax its pandemic guidelines as COVID-19 trends seem to be on the decline.

The Kansas Supreme Court says on Wednesday, March 2, it issued an administrative order and personnel policies to update its COVID-19 guidelines in district and appellate courts.

At the same time, Chief Justice Marla Luckert said she updated minimum standard health protocols for the Kansas Judicial Center, the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator and the Kansas Lawyer Assistance Program office.

“The administrative order, personnel policies, and health protocols acknowledge approved COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are widely available and case numbers appear to be in decline,” Luckert said. “They also acknowledge chief judges are in the best position to determine what mitigation protocols are needed in their courts based on fluctuations in COVID-19 cases locally.”

In May 2021, the Court said it issued an order to give chief judges the power and responsibility to adopt minimum standard health protocols needed based on local health conditions. Wednesday’s order continues that responsibility and gives more control over what protocols are necessary for their courts.

The Court said the order continues to encourage courts to use remote hearings to dispose of cases safely and effectively.

According to the Court, Administrative Order 2022-PR-014 gives judges more control to develop minimum standard health protocols to avoid exposing court users, staff and officers to the virus. updates include removing screening requirements while still allowing them based on local conditions, removing the requirement to submit jury plans to the Office of Judicial Administration and discontinuing two guidance documents.

The Court said discontinued guidance documents are the Supreme Court Guidance for Developing Minimum Standard Health protocols and the Supreme Court Guidance for Conducting Jury Proceedings.

The Court said it also issued updated COVID-19 personnel policies. It said the updated policies remove requirements other than to follow exposure guidance. They also remove limits on travel and meeting size and continue to guide chief judges and appointing authorities to respond if risks change.

Lastly, the Court updated minimum standard health protocols for the Kansas Judicial Center, the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, and the Kansas Lawyer Assistance Program office to reduce COVID-19 screening questions, align mask recommendations with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and update protocols for oral arguments in the Supreme Court courtroom.

For all court and pandemic-related actions, click HERE.

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