Kansas school districts explain decisions to close or stay open

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Several schools have already canceled classes or modified their schedules ahead of a winter storm expected to impact most of Kansas on Thursday.

Some districts in the Wichita metro area closed Wednesday due to slick and icy road conditions. Wichita Public Schools was not one of them.

"I think safety is number one. The condition of the roads is the most important whether we can get our kids safely to school our buses," said Fabian Armendiaz, operations director for Wichita Public Schools.

He says district officials were out on the roads Wednesday. He says they felt Wichita city crews had treated the roads well, and they were in good shape for busses and the district's 17,000 students to travel on.

"The infrastructure of our road system is better and the City of Wichita did a phenomenal job today," said Armendiaz. "I mean, kudos to them. They treated the roads it made it easier for us to make the decision."

Maize, Goddard and Valley Center were among the districts that did close.

Mike Bonner, assistant superintendent for Valley Center Public Schools, says their superintendent gets up and drives the roads at around 4 a.m. to see how they are. Then, they make the decision before 6 a.m. when buses start preparing to go out.

Andover Public Schools says its superintendent also drove the roads Wednesday morning before determining it was safe enough for schools to stay open.

Susanna Staub has a child that attends Earhart Elementary School in Wichita. She says she understands other districts may have decided to cancels, but she knows USD 259 cares about its students.

"I found that our superintendent is very good at notifying us, I feel like she really cares about us. I checked the Facebook page and saw that school was in session so I was comfortable with it," said Staub.

Another large school staying on top of the weather is Wichita State University. The university said it's considering three options depending on the severity of Thursday's weather: maintaining normal operations, delaying start times or canceling entirely.

The university said the final decision will be made before 6 a.m.

Stay up to date with all school closings across the state here.