Water has been restored to Heights High School, Stucky Middle School and a sector of far north Wichita that endured an outage since Thursday afternoon.
Classes have been in session all day even without a water supply.
“A water main break is affecting Heights and Stucky, but don’t worry, we’re still having school!” the district posted on its Twitter and Facebook pages Friday morning.
“Our crews are bringing in plenty of water for drinking, food preparation and restroom use. See you in class!”
Shortly after 1 p.m., after water had been restored to Heights and Stucky, district officials tweeted: “Thanks students and staff for your patience and your ability to handle Plan B.”
Joe Pajor, Wichita’s deputy director for public works and utilities, said the leak left about 350 customers without water in the areas between 45th and 53rd Street North. Residents south of 45th also reported being without water.
The main break involved a tap off a 20-inch line, city officials said. After the leak was discovered Thursday afternoon, crews began repairing the break. But a second leak was discovered when the water was turned back on, officials said.
“They’re nearby each other but they have different functions,” Pajor said of the two valves that broke.
The 20-inch line was installed in 1985. Because it’s in a low point of the distribution system, Pajor said, crews had to drain water out of the main to get to the break.
“It’s a very deep hole, so it took a while to get down to it,” Pajor said.
Teachers at Heights reported that only one boys’ and one girls’ restroom were open at the school during the morning, and district crews were using buckets of water to flush toilets.
A child care center at the school was closed because “there is no running water, which is a requirement for their program,” district spokeswoman Wendy Johnson said in an e-mail.
District officials said they spoke with fire safety officials, who assured them Friday morning that “the water main break won’t hinder their efforts if there is an emergency at school.”
About 1,550 students attend Heights; Stucky’s enrollment is about 740.
Heights officials said hand sanitizer and wipes were available to clean hands at the open restrooms during the morning, and bottled water was available in the north and south offices.
Stucky principal Jennifer Sinclair said bathrooms in one hall of the middle school were open, and crews were using buckets to flush those. District officials delivered bottled water and hand wipes there as well.
“We are cool as cucumbers here at Stucky,” Sinclair said at about 9:15 a.m. Friday. An art teacher who had planned to have students work with clay “decided to do something a little less messy” instead, she said.
After the water main broke Thursday, “we were informed the repairs would take approximately 8 hours,” Heights principal Bruce Deterding said in an e-mail to staff Friday morning.
“Very early this morning I was informed that the repairs would not be completed until the end of the day Friday.”
Contributing: Rick Plumlee and Stan Finger of The Eagle.