Playground closed sign

A sign at El Paso Elementary states that USD 260 playgrounds are closed "in an effort to help reduce the spread of coronavirus." Playgrounds surrounded by fences, including El Paso, have also been locked.

Don’t ride that slide — the Derby Board of Education voted to temporarily close all USD 260 playground structures at a board meeting Monday. The decision follows suit with the city, which closed all public playground equipment last week.

The playgrounds will remain closed until Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s stay at home order is lifted. 

Playground equipment structures are the only areas off limits. The “green space,” including soccer fields and other open grassy areas, is still open, USD 260 Director of Operations Burke Jones said.

“People can still enjoy the open space, but shouldn’t be sliding, swinging and climbing,” Jones said.

Signs have been posted around all the playground equipment, and fenced in school playgrounds have been locked. Jones said the signs are necessary for enforcement of the closure. If kids or adults get on the playground equipment, Jones said, police officers can tell them it’s off limits. 

“[Officers are not] actively patrolling, but if they drove by and saw people at the playground, they can remind people, ‘Hey, the playgrounds are closed,’” Jones said.

It’s unclear how strictly the playground equipment closure will be enforced by the police department. Early Wednesday afternoon, seven kids played on the Central Park playground equipment. As the kids played, two police officers pulled into the nearby parking lot and idled next to each other. A few minutes later, the officers left without telling anyone to get off the equipment.

Steve White, Director of Parks, said the parks department is just trying to keep the community as safe as possible.

“When kids get to playing with one another, they become very social and they don’t really understand the social separation or social distancing that’s being encouraged by the CDC.”

Contributing: Kelly Breckunitch