Valley Center, other districts cancel classes amid rising COVID cases

School districts across the state are putting parents on notice has staffing thins due to COVID cases and quarantines.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 4:52 PM CST
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VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KWCH) - Valley Center USD 262 announced that is canceling class on Friday as the district battles a high number of COVID positive cases. The number of known positive COVID-19 cases in the district has increased from 86 to 217 in the last week, the district said.

USD 262 said Friday’s emergency closure will be similar to a snow day. There will be no remote learning.

“More than 10% of our staff is out COVID-19 positive, with additional staff out because they have sick children, have other health issues, are dealing with closed childcare, etc. For example, in one building this week over 30% of the staff were unable to work. While we have been able to fill the gaps caused by staff absences for the past two weeks, we are now beyond our ability to do so. In addition, nearly 6% of our students are COVID-19 positive,” said the district.

While USD 262 sent out a notice on Wednesday warning parents of a possible closure, parents are still scrambling to find child care.

“Even though you know, they did warn us yesterday in an email, but you know, pretty much I think all of this surrounding districts, as well as Wichita, sent a similar email now. But it’s gonna be a logistical nightmare for Wichita if they do,” said Valley Center parent Jennifer Pickler.

Wichita Public Schools sent their warning notice on Wednesday along with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. Thursday night, Haysville Public Schools did the same telling parents to have child care in place because the district may have to cancel classes at any moment if staffing shortages continue.

Pickler just hopes the decision isn’t long-term.

“Just scrambling to try and find somewhere for our kids to go tomorrow and hope that it’s not a long-term issue. You know, we do have Monday off for the holiday. So that’s good. And so maybe that was their thinking that if they can close down today and then have Saturday, Sunday and Monday then that almost gets through, you know, whatever, five-day quarantine that people might be on. And then hopefully, come Tuesday, they can open back up,” said Pickler.

When students return to school in Valley Center on Tuesday, masks will be required from Jan. 18-21 at West Elementary School, Wheatland Elementary School, Valley Center Intermediate School and Valley Center Middle School. Masks will remain optional but recommended at Abilene Elementary School and Valley Center High School.

Other schools that have canceled classes due to COVID include:

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