COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (TNN) - Many school districts Oklahoma were closed Monday due to the cold weather, but noticeably absent from the list were schools from southwest Oklahoma.
The majority of the large school districts in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas closed because of the cold, but the conditions in most of those places were no different than the temperatures here.
The majority of districts in Oklahoma saw a low wind chill of between negative five and negative ten. But, districts don't necessarily just check the weather and look at the temperatures when deciding to open or close. Instead, they evaluate how the forecast will impact their specific district.
"A lot of times we talk and we consider what is safe for our kids, what are some of the challenges our kids will face getting to and from school,” said Cache Superintendent Chad Hance.
At the forefront of that decision is kids who have to walk to a bus stop or who walk to school. "We run buses in town so as far as our kids who walk to school, we have a few but not many. We run buses across the road. We have a bus stop at Chisholm Corner so the proximity of our bus stops are pretty close. For our district, our kids don’t have a long walk to get to the buses,” Hance said.
Elgin Public Schools also focuses internally on their district, evaluating what will happen throughout the day once the students arrive on campus.
"There’s no magic answer, no number we choose and say this is too cold. Then you could get fooled. It might hit that magic number and the sun is out with zero wind and you think man we could have gone to school today. The basic logic is can you go to school today and have a safe day at school. That means getting them there safe, getting them home safe,” said Elgin Superintendent Nate Meraz.
In Elgin, there are also kids who walk to school but because of the community coming together, Meraz said it’s not an issue for them.
"We’ll see that those families are reaching out after seeing the forecast and calling aunts, uncles , neighbors and saying hey my kid walks every day and it’s no problem. On this day, would you mind carpooling, picking them up and making sure they’re getting there safely. We’re blessed and like I said it’s a great community,” Meraz said.
Both superintendents said the kids are by far their biggest concern and they would never do anything to put them in harm’s way.