WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita schools stayed open on Thursday while some schools in the area decided to close because of the weather. Some parents are asking why.
“I see kids walk by my house every day to go to school. This morning when kids were walking to school, it was sleeting and snowing,freezing cold outside,” said Christina Findley. “My kids obviously didn’t go to school today because I wasn’t going to try to risk their lives or risk my lives going to school on slick streets.”
While some Wichita streets were clear, others had ice and some snow. Wichita school leaders say there is a lot that goes into the decision to keep school open, or to close.
“This is one of the toughest decisions that we have to make and we recognize that all the time and in many cases it’s going to be wrong for somebody,” says Darren Muci, Operations Division Director with USD 259 Schools. “We were looking at our two sources for up-to-the-minute weather information.”
Wichita, Derby and Haysville all stayed open. To the west and north, Goddard and Valley Center closed.
“A lot of factors to consider particularly in this mornings elements because the timing and when the weather was going to come in, what the temperature is going to be when the precipitation arrives. A lot of things to consider this morning,” said Valley Center school superintendent, Cory Gibson. “So I got up this morning at three o’clock and it was at that point just rain. I sat back until about four and drove the roads as did three other of my counterparts within the district to help make the decision.”
Gibson points out the decision could be more difficult for Wichita, because of the large number of students and the variety of roads in Wichita.
“Really difficult because depending on where you were at, depending on the time that system moved through, you may have seen rain and we already had a little bit of ice, so it definitely was much more difficult decision than normal,” said Gibson. “Wichita is larger so their time to make the decision is earlier than ours.”
Wichita school leaders say student and staff safety remains a high priority as they make their decisions.