WRITER: Conner Mitchell

Douglas County crisis center receives $750K in state budget

The future Douglas County crisis center has the necessary funding for planning and construction costs. State lawmakers approved the county’s request for $750,000 to finish the center as part of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, which Gov. Laura Kelly signed into law Wednesday. “It’s been an ongoing conversation and it’s been a conversation we’ve found to be very encouraging and ...

Longtime interim KU provost named to permanent role at UConn

Story updated at 2:49 p.m. Wednesday Carl Lejuez, who served as the interim provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas for nearly 18 months, was named Wednesday as the permanent provost at the University of Connecticut. Lejuez served as KU's interim provost from spring 2018 until February of this year, when new provost Barbara Bichelmeyer began her tenure. During his time in the role, ...

Research departments across KU donate supplies to test for COVID-19

As states around the country continue to struggle obtaining adequate supplies to test for the coronavirus, researchers at the University of Kansas stepped in to help fill the void in the Sunflower State after a request from Gov. Laura Kelly. Kelly’s office requested lab kits to help process COVID-19 testing samples on Friday, and by Monday, KU had accumulated an estimated 20,000 columns that can be used to ...

Managing a pandemic: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius recounts H1N1 experiences, criticizes federal response to coronavirus

When former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius took the role of Health and Human Services secretary for President Barack Obama in April 2009, she was walking into the start of a global pandemic — the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, that ultimately infected 61 million people. Several cases of the new strain had appeared in the United States, but no one had died at the time Sebelius took office, she told ...

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka

Nearly all Lawrence legislators have filed for 2020 reelection

Well ahead of the June 1 filing deadline for the 2020 election, most Lawrence legislators have filed for another term in their posts. Rep. Mike Amyx, D-Lawrence, Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, and Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, all filed their reelection paperwork Friday, according to the Kansas secretary of state’s office. Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, filed ...

Sen. Moran joins health experts on COVID-19 panel, addresses federal legislation and other issues

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran on Monday joined a panel of health experts at the University of Kansas Health System to update the status of federal legislation that could bring millions of relief dollars to the Sunflower State for economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moran, a Republican from Kansas, lobbed some of the blame for the nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus package not passing at U.S. ...

Kansas creates emergency loan program for hospitality industry during pandemic

Story updated at 11:27 a.m. Friday Kansas restaurants and hospitality businesses suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic will have another resource available to supplement their income, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday. The Kelly administration created the Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency Fund, a $5 million pool which allows hospitality businesses to apply for bridge loans up to $20,000. The program — ...

KU Endowment launches COVID-19 emergency relief fund

KU Endowment is launching a dedicated fund to help the University of Kansas' chancellor provide relief to those in financial need during the coronavirus pandemic. "From the student senate to alumni to faculty and staff, we've heard from many who want to help," KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling said Friday in a news release. "The fact that people are thinking about how they can help others in their time of ...

KU suspends all nonessential research activity, citing COVID-19 concerns

The University of Kansas on Friday suspended all nonessential research activity at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. “We understand that this will significantly disrupt your current projects, but this is an unprecedented situation that requires us and our peer institutions to take this action,” a message from Chancellor Douglas Girod, Provost ...

KU plans on-campus move-out process through April; possible refunds still undecided

University of Kansas students in on-campus housing received more guidance Wednesday on how their abrupt move-out process will work while keeping precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More than 3,500 of the more than 5,000 on-campus residents are away from Lawrence, a message from KU Housing said, so students will schedule a two-hour time block where they can bring no more than two other people ...

Lawmakers create state transportation plan that could lead to South Lawrence Trafficway expansion

Legislation creating a statewide transportation program that could ultimately fund widening on the western leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway is headed to Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk. Lawmakers on Thursday passed the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan as they scrambled to put together a bare-bones budget in case the coronavirus pandemic requires them to adjourn for an extended period of time. The ...

KU to continue to pay employees; some resources available for students, others

Some 30,000 students, faculty and staffers at the University of Kansas had their lives upended Tuesday as officials made the decision to largely suspend campus operations for the academic year amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Classes moved to online-only instruction for the remaining 34 academic days beginning on March 23; over 5,000 students who live on campus were told that KU Housing facilities were ...

Lawrence economy braces for coronavirus hit; congressional delegation working to get federal help for university communities

Bars in the Lawrence area got what Rob Farha called “two bonus Sundays” this year with the Kansas City Chiefs’ journey to the AFC Championship Game and ultimate Super Bowl victory. But those two bonus days pale in comparison to the profits bars could have brought in during the 2020 NCAA Tournament, in which the University of Kansas men's basketball team was widely expected to make a deep run. Then, ...

KU moves classes online for entire spring semester; commencement status still undecided

Story updated at 1:34 p.m. Tuesday The University of Kansas on Tuesday announced that its classes for the remainder of the academic year would be held remotely to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move came a day after an order from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly dictated that gatherings for the next two months be limited to under 50 people. Tuesday morning, the Douglas County health department also ...

KU yet to announce plans for rest of school year; KSU cancels graduation, won't resume in-person classes

Updated story - March 17 — KU moves classes online for entire spring semester Story updated at 6:12 p.m. Monday The immediate future of the University of Kansas’ campus operations remained in limbo on Monday as Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered gatherings be limited to less than 50 people for the next two months to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Some 80 miles to the west, Kansas State University ...

Online KU student waiting on COVID-19 test results left confused by university's response

Story updated at 6:18 p.m. Monday Bianca Labrador, an online student at the University of Kansas who until recently was studying abroad in London, has faced many confusing and frustrating moments in the time since the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping the globe. It was bad enough, she said, having to wade through confusing White House announcements about what European travel was and wasn't banned. But her ...

How KU faculty are preparing for switch to online teaching during coronavirus pandemic

As the University of Kansas prepares for a shift to teach all courses remotely until at least the end of March, the change will be a balancing act for all involved. While the university for years has had a multitude of online classes, never before have professors been forced by extenuating circumstances to teach, and for students to learn, entirely outside of the classroom with essentially a week’s worth of ...

KU says all home and away athletic events canceled indefinitely

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement Thursday that all athletic-related travel is canceled indefinitely, and home and away athletic events have been suspended in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The statement came shortly after all NCAA conference basketball tournaments were canceled and the fate of the NCAA Tournament was in the balance. It's unclear how the decision could be ...

Plans for keeping KU's open campus sanitary during pandemic not yet finalized

One day after extending its spring break by a week and telling faculty to adopt online learning materials — while keeping the campus open — in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Kansas has yet to finalize answers as to how it will keep its open facilities sanitary and safe. Members of an emergency management team are still finalizing those plans, KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson ...

KU's Edwards Campus evacuated after fire reported in basement of building

All activities at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park have been canceled Wednesday after a fire was reported in the basement of Regnier Hall. KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said the fire was reported at 3:05 p.m. An emergency alert was sent to the university community shortly after that, asking for the campus to be evacuated. "First responders arrived quickly, there were no injuries and the campus is ...