‘They are gonna be warriors from this’: Prairie Creek parents react to relocation announcement
ANDOVER, Kan. (KAKE)- Parents of Prairie Creek elementary students say they are worried, but are understanding of the district’s decision to relocate students next week.
The elementary school suffered significant damage during an EF3 tornado that KAKE News first brought you coverage of Friday night. That tornado caused damage to dozens of structures, but the Andover Public School district said it rendered the Prairie Creek elementary building unusable for the rest of the school year.
We walked through each room of the school this morning to assess damage,” the district said in a statement posted to their website. “Some rooms were untouched, while others were heavily damaged. Prairie Creek was the only school building that suffered damage.”
“It is absolutely devastating, our hearts are broken,” said Prairie Creek parent Brianna Whitehead.
The Whitehead family told KAKE News they had two students in the elementary school, a second and third grader.
This is probably the most terrifying experience she's been through,” said Whitehead of her second-grader, Kate.
The district said starting Monday, May 9, elementary students will be relocated to five different locations spread out across Andover:
- Early Childhood, Sunflower Elementary
- Pre-K, St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church
- Kindergarten and 1st grade, Cottonwood Elementary.
- 2nd grade and special education, Meadowlark Elementary
- Grades 3-5, Andover Center for Advanced Professional Studies
The district said these will be home bases for students and staff, but that it will periodically plan trips and fun activities to ease students stress over the last few weeks of class.
KAKE News asked the Whitehead family how they were explaining the news to their kids.
"I mean, we've just been really honest with them,” said Jordan Whitehead, Kate’s father.
"Prairie Creek is gonna bond to these kids for life,” said Jordan Whitehead. “I mean, they are gonna be warriors from this.”
KAKE News also asked the Whitehead’s how they felt about the district’s decision to split their kids up for the rest of the school year. They said they understood and that the district’s communication had been great; but that there were still some concerns.
"I worry a little bit with how young most of them are and you know having to push through,” said Brianna Whitehead. “But I think it's going to make them some really resilient adults when they get older."
In the latest statement posted to the district’s website, it also thanked the Maize Public School District for its support:
We are long overdue for thank-yous publicly, but tonight we want to thank Maize USD 266 for sending staff to Andover to help move salvageable items from the Prairie Creek building, with hopes that some of those items can help our teachers the next few weeks. This is a huge relief for our amazing maintenance staff, who has worked nonstop since Friday.