The superintendent of Guthrie Public Schools was picking up the pieces Wednesday after a tornado damaged several school buildings and disabled a fleet of buses.
“The first reaction is concern for the safety of all of our students, faculty and staff, and from there it becomes one of, ‘How do we put all of this back together?”, Superintendent Terry Simpson said. “It became evident very quickly that we were not going to be able to run bus routes and transport students anytime in the near future.”
Storms that ripped through central Oklahoma on Tuesday were a nightmare for superintendents, bearing down on schools just as students were being released for the day.
In Piedmont, where some of the worst damage from the storms occurred, Superintendent James White said school officials got buses moving early and had every student dropped off in advance of the tornado.
“It missed all of our buildings,” White said. “There's just a lot of devastation and a lot of complete losses for students and families ... everybody came out safe which is the important thing.”
White said they canceled the final day of school Wednesday because it was impossible to get to some parts of town, however, teachers were at schools calling students and colleagues to check on their safety.
White said Piedmont schools had already met the state's requirement for time in school.
Guthrie schools have closed for the remainder of the school year and the state Education Board will consider Thursday morning whether to forgive the three missed days, Simpson said.
The roofs of Guthrie High School and Guthrie Upper Elementary School were rolled back and an athletic weight training facility was demolished, Simpson said. He said several portable classrooms near the Upper Elementary School were destroyed.
Students can come to their schools from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Friday to collect belongings, get report cards and say goodbye to teachers for the summer, Simpson said.
None of the school buildings in El Reno were damaged and the final day of school went as planned Wednesday despite a major tornado in the area.
Washington Public Schools were not damaged by the tornado that hit the Goldsby community, Superintendent A.J. Brewer said. The schools closed for summer last week.
Several graduation ceremonies planned for Tuesday night in the Oklahoma City area were canceled.
Yukon High School will hold its graduation at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jim Norick State Fair Arena. Two schools will hold graduations Thursday at the Cox Convention Center: Southeast High School at 6 p.m. and U.S. Grant High School at 8 p.m.