OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — As confirmed cases of of coronavirus continue to spread throughout the state of Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly is ordering all K-12 schools to close for the remainder of the school year.
Across the state, this will impact an estimated half-million students who will now shift to online learning.
Many parents in Johnson County said it’s an inconvenience, but they support the decision to keep their children and communities safe.
“I wasn’t sure how everything would shut down, and it’s definitely shutting down. But if we can stop the virus from spreading, it’s a good idea,” parent Claudia Vines said.
Vine’s daughter, a senior at Shawnee Mission North West High School, is all set to go to Kansas State University next year. But Vines said she can’t help but think she’ll be missing out.
“We’ve been in school for 12 years, a long time, and it’s basically what we have been working up towards,” Claire Severance said. “It’s very disappointing.”
But it’s a step Kelly calls critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Still, it’s left many parents and students worried about the uncertainty of what’s ahead.
“I am hopeful and rallying behind that they will come up with a plan, and we all have to be patient and as calm as possible,” Carly Pumphrey said.
Pumphrey, a mother of three, said she’s choosing to remain optimistic through it all.
“We are looking at it as an opportunity to be neighborly and talk to our kids about what we are living through — because we don’t really know. We will just see how it works out,” Pumphrey said.
“I feel lucky with our living situation, but I think it’s encouraging to see how people are reaching out. I hope people are empowered to reach out to neighbors and other people that they know.”
Kansas officials are still fine-tuning exactly how to go forward.
Education is expected to include online courses and eventually small group sessions for school personnel, once all buildings are sanitized.
School boards are currently examining graduation requirements for seniors.
Kelly will decide before August if school can or will be held next school year.