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Kansas Schools Reopening | How Masks Protect Us | Language & Space Travel

Jeremy Thomas
Andrew McKenzie, a linguistics professor at KU, says he anticipates language will evolve during generations-long, interstellar space travel in the future.

How Kansas is navigating the impending reopening of its public schools, when and why face masks protect us from coronavirus infection, and how language might evolve during interstellar space travel.

Segment 1, beginning at 4:09: How Kansas is preparing to reopen its public schools.

The Kansas State Board of Education put out a nearly 1,100-page guide to reopening schools for the 2020 academic school year. Meanwhile, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to issue an executive order pushing the first day of school back until after Labor Day.

Segment 2, beginning at 25:03: The science behind face masks.

Four months into the pandemic, people are still debating the effectiveness of masks. But health experts say wearing a mask over your mouth and nose is essential to stopping the virus' spread.

Segment 3, beginning at 45:30: Will language evolve during deep space travel?

A University of Kansas professor recently co-wrote a paper about his expectations for language to change during interstellar space travel trips that take generations to complete. The conundrum could make it difficult for a ship's crew to communicate with humans back on Earth.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Luke X. Martin is a reporter focusing on race, culture and ethnicity for KCUR 89.3. Contact him at or on Twitter, @lukexmartin.
Mackenzie Martin is a producer for KCUR's Up To Date, Real Humans By Gina Kaufmann, and A People's History of Kansas City. Reach out to her at or on Twitter @_macmartin.