Kansas families react to school buildings closing statewide

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Posted at 8:17 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 09:17:10-04

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Schools in Kansas and Missouri are looking at ways to help their students while schools are closed.

All Kansas schools, K-12 are closed for the rest of the academic year due to COVID-19.

Missouri officials have not made that call yet, but some are extending spring breaks for the time being.

With the closings, educators are looking for ways to help students learn while at home.

As district leaders figure out next steps, some parents are trying to balance work and childcare for their children.

Alex Batliner is a new parent. While his child isn't in school yet, he says he is worried what the future has in store for day cares.

"Are they going to have to shut down daycares?" Batliner asked. "And me and my wife both work so we don’t quite know what’s going to happen with that, but it is what it is."

He says while he does worry about that, he feels the recent decision was the right choice.

"It makes sense. I’d rather be safe than sorry," Batliner said. "I don’t know if it’s blown out of proportion or not, but why risk it? If we need to shut down stuff we need to shut down stuff. I mean, we’ll figure it out. We have to."

41 Action News also spoke with Mary Aguilar, who manages seven laundromats and is raising three of her grandchildren, all of whom are home now that schools are closed.

She said she wasn't surprised when her grandchildrens' Spring Break was extended, but hearing the order called earlier this week for Kansas was a bit of a shock.

"When they said the rest of the year, I was like, 'Wow,'" Aguilar said. "But they had already had things in place to get Chrome notebooks for the kids today at school. So I was like, now we just gotta find ways to keep them motivated to keep doing their work."

As Aguilar balances work and helps with her grandchildren's school work, she's also trying to ease their mind as to what will happen in the future.

"They ask, 'Well are we going to have to go to summer school?' And I’m like, 'I don’t know because this could stretch into the summer too. I mean we could be lucky if you guys get to go back to school in the Fall. 'I have a lot of friends and friends that are teachers. If I come into problems, hopefully they’ll be able to help me out," the working grandmother said.

Aguilar said she does do a lot of FaceTime now both for work and keeping an eye on her grandchildren.