When an EF5 tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma last May, seven students died taking shelter in the hallway of their school. Some students still pile into Wichita school hallways during storms, but others now have a safer option.
Students in Christina Singer's kindergarten class at Pleasant Valley Elementary are learning the basics, and in Kansas severe weather is a fact of life.
Student Rogelio Salazar knows not to outside during a tornado.
"It could get you hurt," he said.
"I don't know that they understand the complete seriousness of the tornado but we have definitely trained them that when we do any kind of drill it needs to be quiet so they can listen for instructions," Singer said.
During Tuesday's statewide tornado drill, students at Pleasant Valley went to their gym to take cover. It's their new FEMA tested storm shelter built to withstand an EF5 tornado, flying debris, and 200 mph winds.
"Being in a room where we know the roof, the wall, the doors are all safe is really comforting," Singer said.
Before, students took shelter in the hallways.
"I used to have to walk through this hallway and check these two classrooms and go to the other hallway and just wondering where everybody is and making sure everybody is there," said Pleasant Valley Principal Cindy Graves. "It was just a little more frantic."
Some Wichita students are still taking shelter in hallways or other small rooms. At Black Traditional Magnet, students duck and cover in the boiler room.
"It's safe because there are no windows and part of it is down below ground," said Black Traditional Magnet school nurse Kris Pfeifer. "But it is not as safe as a safe room would be."
Construction is underway on a storm shelter at Black Traditional Magnet and it's expected to be complete by January 2015.
Teachers at Pleasant Valley feel relieved to know they have a better option.
"I don't have to watch my kids and make sure they're keeping their heads down because it's really difficult to get those little kids to keep their heads down," Singer said.
Singer feels confident her students will be protected when the strongest storms hit Wichita.
As part of a 2008 bond issue, every Wichita school will have a safe room and students will no longer take shelter in hallways.