Hoping to avoid another notification faux pas, Oklahoma City Public Schools officials have revised their weather cancellation policy to include extreme low temperatures.
Interim Oklahoma City Superintendent Dave Lopez announced at a board meeting Tuesday night that he would decide by 5:25 a.m. on days when extreme cold is expected whether to cancel school. The move would be made if the actual temperature is 10 degrees or below or the wind chill is 5 degrees or below.
The National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office has issued a wind chill advisory for Oklahoma County from 3 to 10 a.m. Thursday, when temperatures could dip to between negative 5 and negative 8 degrees. Cold conditions could linger into Friday morning, as well.
On Jan. 6, Lopez came under fire for waiting until nearly 6:30 a.m. to cancel classes and notify parents and the media once temperatures had dipped to 4 degrees. He apologized for the late notice but said his top priority was the safety of the district's 46,000 students, many of whom walk to school or have to wait for a bus.
Lopez will make his decision based on the recommendation of Rod McKinley, the district's chief human resources officer and the man in charge of school safety.
“We want to make sure that if we're going to close schools we want to give notification in a timely manner,” McKinley said.