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Oklahoma parents cope with closed schools

When Oklahoma schools close because of weather conditions, working parents have to make alternate plans for their children.
by Kyle Fredrickson Modified: December 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm •  Published: December 9, 2013

Hundreds of public schools in central Oklahoma are closed Tuesday for a third day, despite the metro area receiving only about three inches of snow last week.

Oklahoma City, Deer Creek, Edmond and Norman Public Schools are among the districts that haven't had classes since Thursday.

While that's exciting news for students, it's not so much for their parents who have to answer a major question: Where do kids go when parents have to work?

It's a problem Tierney Tinnin, media services director of Oklahoma City Public Schools, has heard repeatedly since Friday.

“We really monitored the roads and the weather all day yesterday,” Tinnin said. “The main concern — the neighborhood streets. I think if people have been out and about today, they will see the snow routes, the major roads, are pretty dry. And then when you drive down the neighborhood streets, you'll see that thick layer of ice is still there.

“We had parents who would have preferred to have their students in school today, but we want them to understand that we cover more than 120 square miles. If the street in front of your home looks really, really nice — let's talk about the streets in Spencer, the Village and Nichols Hills that may not look the same way.”

Tinnin said Dave Lopez, the Oklahoma City Public Schools interim superintendent, has the authority to declare a snow day after receiving recommendations from the maintenance and transportation heads for the district.

Billy Goldsmith is the director of facilities for Oklahoma City Public Schools. His crew of 140 maintenance employees spent the weekend checking all 89 schools in the district and found just one broken pipe in the process.

With school canceled again Tuesday, Goldsmith said his crew will continue working to de-ice parking lots and entrances until students return to campus.

“If anybody slips and falls, we all feel responsible for that,” Goldsmith said. “So we're trying to make sure that doesn't happen.”

Near capacity

As of 2 p.m. Monday, Acorn Children's Center, a 24-hour day care in northwest Oklahoma City, was 15 children away from reaching its capacity.

Director Richi Anthony estimated that 70 children at the center would have been at school had it not been canceled.

“We have to get creative,” Anthony said. “We plan extra activities and have extra staff come in.”

Anthony said she expected the rush that accompanies a snow day and understands the frustration of parents.

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by Kyle Fredrickson
OSU beat writer
Kyle Fredrickson became the Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman and in July 2014. A native Coloradoan, Fredrickson attended Western State College before transferring to Oklahoma State in 2010 and graduating in 2012. Fredrickson...
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