TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court yesterday issued an administrative order and personnel policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic and district and appellate court operations.
At the same time, Chief Justice Marla Luckert issued 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."
Last May, the Supreme Court issued an order giving chief judges the authority and responsibility to adopt minimum standard health protocols necessary based on local health conditions. Yesterday's order continues that responsibility, while giving chief judges more local control to decide what protocols are necessary in their courts. The order continues to encourage courts to use remote hearings to dispose of cases safely and efficiently.
Administrative Order 2022-PR-014
2022-PR-014 gives chief judges greater control to develop minimum standard health protocols as needed to avoid exposing court users, staff, and judicial officers to COVID-19. Updates include removing COVID-19 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. Discontinued guidance documents are the Supreme Court Guidance for Developing Minimum Standard Health Protocols and the Supreme Court Guidance for Conducting Jury Proceedings.
The Supreme Court also issued updated COVID-19 personnel policies. The updated policies remove requirements other than to follow COVID-19 exposure guidance. They also remove limits on travel and meeting size. They continue to guide chief judges and appointing authorities to respond if local COVID-19 risks change.
Minimum Standard Health Protocols for the Kansas Judicial Center
Updates to minimum standard health protocols for the Kansas Judicial Center, the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, and the Kansas Lawyer Assistance Program office 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.
Court response to COVID
For all court actions related to the pandemic, visit Kansas courts response to COVID-19.