Local schools explain why they closed or remained open on Monday

Local schools explain why they closed or remained open on Monday

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Many schools in Southwest Oklahoma were in session for most if not all of today despite schools in the Oklahoma City area closing because of expected severe weather. Elgin and Cache held class as normal while officials in Lawton and Duncan asked parents to pick their kids up early halfway through the day.

Student safety is what played a major factor in deciding what’s best for their students. Deciding whether or not schools should close because of possible severe weather is something that superintendents in our area spent last night trying to figure out. Chad Hance, the Superintendent Cache Public School, said they talk to each other about what they're going to do.

"Everybody's got to make the best decision for their district," he said.

He said students at Cache Public Schools know where the safe rooms that double as classrooms are and they've done plenty of drills, so they know exactly what to do.

"We just felt like having our school open today [Monday] may give some of those students that might not have shelter at home or maybe left unattended due to parents work schedule that we would go ahead and have school and have a safe place for those students to be,” Hance said.

Hance said because of the severe weather risk, at least one-third of students didn't attend school on Monday. Those absences are not going to be held against the students.

In Altus, voters passed a bond to start building more storm shelters, but right now, they don't have shelters for all of the kids to go to. Amanda Davis with Altus Public Schools said they have bad weather days built into their school calendar and they felt that it was best to use one today.

"For us, it just made sense to have our students stay home,” she said. “They're either with family or in a safe spot."

Davis said faculty and staff feel they made a good decision being proactive rather than being reactive.

"I think everyone, especially with it being May 20, has the Moore tornado on our minds today,” Davis said. “In respect for what they've learned out of there, I think that our choice was to make the safest possible decision for our students and for our faculty and staff."

Davis says this will affect semester test for students at Altus Public Schools while Hance said this won’t affect their testing schedule any.

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