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LPS: Snow Days for Student Safety

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LAWTON Okla_ It was another snow day for students at Lawton Public Schools Monday.

This was Lawton's third snow day this school year so far, and it's not even officially winter yet. The main roads are in pretty good condition, but the same can't be said for some Lawton neighborhoods and most of the schools' parking lots. They're encased in ice, making them unsafe to drive and walk on.

Dr. Tom Deighan said the school district's primary concern is the safety of all students, parents and staff as they travel to and from school. Their secondary concern is the conditions of the schools' parking lots and walkways, which were the main reason for school being canceled Monday.

Deighan said they have a team that drives around town early in the mornings to evaluate the roads and parking lots. So, we drove around ourselves to see what kind of shape the parking lots are in, and most were really bad. Eisenhower Middle School and its dome shaped parking lot, Woodland Hills Elementary, where you can see someone ran into a street sign, and Lawton High School where someone has obviously been doing donuts are some of the worst.

"We don't want anybody of course to have any accidents or worse yet, slipping and falling once they get to school," Deighan said.

The parking lots at most of the schools are covered in ice, and it's not melting because the temperatures are still well below freezing. Deighan said the district does not have the ability to pre-treat the parking lots with salt and sand.

"We are at the mercy of the elements," Deighan said. "We did try and scrape a parking lot Friday evening, but the ice was too thick and too stubborn for us to do any good."

Deighan said they have two snow days built into the spring schedule, but they've already used three. Tuesday's will make four, but this doesn't mean your kids will be missing Spring Break or going to school well into the summer.

"Our hours by schedule had several more built in, so we're still in good shape," Deighan said.

The hours by schedule means they would just add minutes on to each class, instead of adding days. Deighan said they can handle up to ten more snow days other than the two built in.

"We're confident that enough days are in the schedule, but of course this is Oklahoma and anything can happen," Deighan said.

Lawton Public Schools is closed Tuesday, because the schools' parking lots are still covered in sheets of ice. It looks like temperatures will get above freezing, so hopefully the school's parking lots and neighborhood streets will thaw, so kids in Lawton can return to school on Wednesday.

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