Wichita, some area schools in session Monday; temps forecast below zero

01/06/2014 6:48 PM

08/06/2014 9:22 AM

Despite a wind chill expected to be well below zero, Wichita and several other area school districts will be in session Monday, according to postings on their websites.

According to USD 259’s website: “Wichita students bundle up! Based on projected weather conditions and the status of our buildings, students will return to class on Monday, Jan. 6. Students who ride the bus should prepare for possible delays.”

Augusta, Circle and Valley Center have also posted notices on their websites that classes will resume Monday. Andover resumed classes on Thursday.

Derby, Goddard and Maize districts are scheduled to resume classes on Tuesday. Haysville will resume classes on Wednesday.

A number of school districts across the state have canceled school because of the frigid weather.

Wichita is on track for a low of 5 degrees below zero, with a wind chill of 20 below, said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Jakub.

It will be about the same at 8 a.m. for the trip into work and school, he said.

Wichita officially recorded 2 inches of snow Saturday and Sunday.

Wichita schools spokeswoman Susan Arensman said administrators weighed several factors in deciding to resume classes Monday.

She said she understands that the wind chill will be low, but administrators felt that it would be bearable. Accuweather, the forecaster the district uses, put the wind chill at about 10 below, she said.

The roads are fairly passable, she said. The buildings are ready to go, and district staff members believe they will have parking lots and drives cleared.

First Student, the district’s bus contractor, started the buses over the weekend to make sure they are ready. It also plans to have workers arrive early to make sure they are ready to go on time.

That means the buses should generally be on time.

“No matter what decision we make, we won’t make everybody happy,” Arensman said.

The good news is that temperatures are expected to rise quite a bit on Tuesday, with highs of 35 to 40 degrees and a low of about 24 degrees, according to the weather service.

Jakub said the temperatures should remain in that range through the week before warming into the 40s on Friday and the weekend.

Overall on Sunday, Wichitans seemed to be handling the weekend’s snow and cold relatively well, said law enforcement officials.

Despite several car accidents caused by slick roads, the number wasn’t overwhelming, said Lt. Linda Ester of Sedgwick County 911.

There were about 65 accidents in Sedgwick County from about 6 p.m. Saturday through 9 p.m. Sunday, according to communications supervisors.

Any increase in accidents was off-set by a drop in most other activity.

“It really hasn’t been all that busy,” she said.

Wichita police did not activate the Emergency Accident Reporting Plan. Under the plan, if an accident is minor, drivers may make a report at a QuikTrip or online.

Continued caution in the face of snow and bitter cold is encouraged, said Wichita police Sgt. John Hoofer.

“We’re trying to counsel everyone to bundle up, to not get frostbite and also watch their driving and slow down,” Hoofer said. “The roads do have a lot of slick spots.”

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