KANSAS — Heavy flooding all across Central Illinois caused several schools to let out early Thursday.
Water is covering highways and several county roads and it’s a risk for drivers, especially school bus drivers. Kansas School cut its day short because leaders worried about students getting home safe. They say this is the first time they’ve had to do that because of flooding in 10 years.
Ryan D’Arcy drove his daughter to school early in the morning.
He says, “Getting to school this morning was a bit of a challenge. Our roads in the rural area were already flooded.”
Now the classrooms are deserted. It’s unusual for a school day. Michael Lowery is the principal at Kansas School.
He says, “We had seen the water levels rising.”
Kids watched through the classroom windows as roads flooded right outside. At 9:30, the school got a call from other districts saying they were concerned about the water. By 10:30, the superintendent made a judgment call.
“I called here to notify the parents that we would close school.”
The concern was for the kids’ safety, and also for the bus drivers.
“With the water levels rising on the country roads, and the bus drivers not knowing if those roads were still there under the water. You get these buses on the country roads, you can’t turn around you have to back up and backing a bus up for several miles on a curvy road in the rain is not a pleasure.”
It’s been ten years since they’ve had to close the school due to flooding. Principal Lowery says the water pools in the town, so it floods quickly. Flooded highways and roads are making it difficult for school buses to get the kids home safely.
“One bus driver I talked to, before we go back into attendance on Monday, she’s personally going to drive out and look at a couple bridges she has to cross to make sure they can handle the bus.”
The superintendent says, “Hopefully by Monday, a nice weekend will clear everything off and we’ll be ready to go then.”