Students, staff and community respond to announcement that school will close for the year

At 4 p.m. yesterday, governor Laura Kelly announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Details about alternative learning via small groups, packets or online assignments will be figured out in the coming weeks, according to an email superintendent Brad Starnes sent to staff. “We’re in uncharted waters. We want to be proactive and help our kids,” Starnes wrote.

Students, teachers and parents shared their initial response to the news. To add your voice, please respond to the survey, or let us know at


Senior Hannah Mumpower

“This sucks. This whole thing sucks. Imagine thinking that you have three months left to do all the fun things you’ve heard of and seen since you were in grade school, only to have it all ripped away in a single message. I won’t get to experience so many senior year lasts and honestly, it’s nauseating. I won’t get to have a senior prom. I won’t get to compete at Regional and State Solo Festival one last time. My senior softball season is non-existent. I may not even get to have a graduation. I understand why it had to happen, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be sad about it and voice my thoughts. If you know a senior, send them some kind words and hug them. Their last year of high school just got cut short and they are probably a little distraught over it all.”


Senior Eleanor Badeker

“My first reaction to school effectively not existing for me anymore was to try to blame the government, then the health system, and then even whatever animal started coronavirus, but then I realized that wasn’t going to do any good — but it’s still extremely disappointing. Everything that makes a senior year special has been taken away with almost no warning, and it feels awful.  All year I’ve been scared to leave high school and the relationships I’ve built with my friends and teachers, and now I feel like I’ve been forced out early and I won’t get the closure I need to move on with the rest of my life. I don’t get to finish my painting in art class, I don’t get to do another of Alderman’s famous three minute quizzes, and I won’t get to graduate with my class.”


Senior Kaytlyn Meseke

“Two months from today I was supposed to walk with my classmates across a stage and receive my diploma that I have worked the last thirteen years for. Hearing that my senior year has now been canceled, tears fill my eyes and questions buzz around my head. Will my diploma just be mailed to my P.O. Box as we Facetime our ceremony? Is prom night now going to be on Club Penguin’s dance floor? What am I supposed to do now with a half finished model of the Volland Store? Right now I am obviously trying to laugh it off by making jokes, but in reality I am speechless and shocked that I no longer get to experience my senior lasts. For the last few days, I’ve deleted those senior lasts off my calendar and each time I hope that I wake up from a bad dream. To my class, thank you for these last thirteen years and I’m so sorry that it was all ripped away from us. Peace out WHS and thank you for everything, good and bad.”


Senior Sierra Quathamer

“I’m mad and upset and I think everyone is freaking out way too much. It only has a mortality rate of 1.7% which has dropped in just days from 3.4% Everyone needs to chill because we are wrecking the economy and you can’t live in a bubble for long.”


Teacher Amy Cassell

I feel sick for the students and not from COVID-19! All of them had and still have expectations and accomplishments to meet. So many projects have been started and my classroom still has the pieces of these projects laying around and need finished. This includes sports, academics, organizations, and more. Even my young children are crushed to not play soccer or play with their friends. Finishing a yearbook for a year that is totally incomplete is unthinkable. This is something that will be in the minds of these students forever. They should feel cheated.”


Senior Dan Flach

“It sucks that I won’t have those senior spring memories.”


Secretary Carrie Boeckman

“I don’t know what this means for my job or my ability to get a paycheck. It would be devastating for families like my own if we were to lose half of our income. I also worry about end of year  check outs: getting iPads back, parents paying outstanding fees, etc. What a crazy predicament we are in!”


Teacher Emily Hess

“I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. I do not think the general public understands the long term effects of this global pandemic and how it is affecting our health care system.”


Parent Kelli Pine

“I completely understand why they are closing down schools. I’m sad that my kids won’t be back in school with their friends and teachers, won’t get that social time with the kids they know so well every day for the rest of this school year and won’t be learning directly from the teachers. I’m worried/curious about what the requirements will be for kids to move forward to the next grade in August. I really hope school will be back in session in August. I look forward to seeing communications on what lessons I need to teach to the kids from home going forward and I’m sure we can complete whatever is needed here together.”


Junior Jayna Keller

“I’m actually really upset over school closing. I know that I said a lot that I don’t like school and I wanted it to be over for the year. But now that it’s actually over, it makes me realize how much everyone’s missing out on. There’s no more spring sports, no last week of school anticipation, and no hanging out with friends that I normally don’t see outside of school. My heart aches for the seniors that have to miss out on all the wonderful final things that they could do, and also all of the exchange students all over Kansas that don’t get to experience their final things either. Life is kind of just abruptly halted and no one really knows what’s going on anymore.”


Junior Raegan Feyh

“My first reaction was how cool it was that school is done and now we have a 5-month summer break. But then I thought about the seniors this year and how upset they all must be with this because this was their last year as a high school student. Then I thought about how I’m a senior now…”


Parent Daniel Wertzberger

“I’m confused how kids will get the credits done when internet in our communities is spotty at best.”


Senior Shelby Wright

“I’m so pissed, I’m not going to get the opportunity to walk across the stage and go to my senior prom. I’m going to miss so much. Wondering how this is going to affect me a year from now, am I still going to be able to go to college and get my scholarships or am I just done with school?”


Parent Tammy Gasperich

“All of this is a lot to digest at once. How can I help my student and the teacher be successful as we move to a different learning platform? High schools and colleges/tech schools will need to work together to successfully transition the senior students, as they will not go through the normal ending to their senior year.”


Student Payton Wurtz

“I am sad because I won’t get to watch my brother graduate 8th grade or see my friends at school or go to any dances or see my teachers and have extra curricular classes like art. But I am also glad our state is taking the responsibility and closing all the schools.”


Parent Cheryl Hurla

“We have two kids in school. This just seems unrealistic. Why not wait a few weeks, even a month and then decide. It seems to be a bit quick. Lots of unanswered questions.”


Junior Illyana Tertzanlis (exchange student)

“I’m going back to Germany because of it. I don’t understand why we’re making this decision now, even though we have so much more time left. Didn’t get the opportunity to say good bye to my teachers and classmates. I understand that this is for safety but me and all the seniors are all struggling because of it.”


Parent Lisa Stilley

“It concerns me with her education, will they be able to go on to the next grade? Also will we be able to get our lunch money back so we can spend that on food at home? Will the kids be able to keep their iPads so they can do their homework that gets assigned?”


Sophomore Cecelia Emmert

“I am upset because I would like to learn in the school and I feel like this is going to affect my next years in high school.”


Grandparent Sandra Deever

“Very premature. Surely a decision could be made in early April and finish the school year.  Students have been on break plus additional 2 weeks out of classes. Just one more week could see the crisis pass and continue school or make call at that point if necessary to close schools longer.  Extreme overreaction.”


Sophomore Natalie Degand

“I’d rather get coronavirus then spend the rest of the school year with my brothers.”


Teacher April Ogden

This is for the safety of our students, staff and community. There will be challenges, failures and successes. With support from friends, administration, parents & other staff members, we’ll get through this. 


Parent Liz Seaton

“I’m sad for my daughter and her senior classmates. I understand the decision. I hope the high school faculty and administrators will find methods to complete students’ education online and/or through small group in-person learning (if conditions improve). Thanks for all you do for these kids.”


Teacher Brendan Praeger

“The email popped up on my phone while I was posting an assignment online for my English students. I just got a sick feeling in my stomach. I knew this was a possibility because of the way things have been accelerating, but I was really trying to stay optimistic. A lot of the best parts of the school year come in the final quarter, and I honestly love coming to school everyday. The idea that I might go almost half a year without seeing students is pretty upsetting.”


Teacher Lisa Hull

“This is unwarranted and will negatively affect our lives, perhaps for years. The loss of income from these various closings will shutter small businesses and ruin many financially. It is an attempt to bring down our country. Apparently it is working.”


Senior Austin Davis

“Scared but glad school is keeping people safe from virus. On a personal level it doesn’t help because I was trying to get my diploma and get a better job with (Washburn) Tech.”


Staff member Lydia Drennon

“I understand why for safety of kids. It affects me because I’m an hourly person who depends on the income.”



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