Jan 13, 2022 8:00 PM

State's largest school district warns parents of potential school closures

Posted Jan 13, 2022 8:00 PM
USD 259-Wichita school board president Stan Reeser&nbsp;<a href="https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-school-boards-topeka-wichita-4b7d9493ef03fce565bc52b4afce9ece">suspended&nbsp;</a>Monday evening’s meeting without calling it to order because three members refused to put on masks when asked.
USD 259-Wichita school board president Stan Reeser suspended Monday evening’s meeting without calling it to order because three members refused to put on masks when asked.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita school district, the largest in Kansas, is warning parents that temporary school closures may be necessary because so many teachers are out sick with COVID-19.

Superintendent Alicia Thompson told parents in an email that the district, which is the state’s largest with 47,000 students, hopes to give parents two to three days’ notice before closing schools. But she said she couldn’t promise decisions won’t be made more quickly.

“Based on what we see happening in our district and our community, that notification could be provided one day to take effect the following day,” Thompson said.

At least three Kansas districts, including Manhattan-Ogden, Bonner Springs and El Dorado, already have canceled classes. And virtual learning isn’t an option because of limits that lawmakers put in place last year.

Hoping to provide relief to understaffed districts across Kansas, the state board of education voted Wednesday to ease application requirements for substitute teachers.

The staffing crunch comes as newly elected Wichita board members have indicated that they want to do away with the district’s mask mandate.

School board President Stan Reeser suspended Monday evening’s meeting without calling it to order because three members refused to put on masks when asked.