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OKC Public Schools Closed Monday Due To Cold Temperatures

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© The call to cancel school came after several crews checked outside walking conditions and school heating systems. © The call to cancel school came after several crews checked outside walking conditions and school heating systems.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The cold weather kept schools closed for one more day for the Oklahoma City Public School District. But the decision to cancel students' first day back from winter break came a little later than some parents and teachers expected.

Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez apologized for the inconvenience. Lopez says the decision to close school typically comes the night before, but says there is no set cut-off time for a notification.

To err on the side of safety is why the district decided to close all Oklahoma City public schools because the temperatures were too low and didn't appear to get any better by the time school would let out.

"I just wasn't sure that if we were having children exposed to bad weather as a 7 or 8-year-old if we were maybe teaching a lesson that safety wasn't paramount," Lopez said.

"It's a disruption and I know it's an inconvenience, but I much rather be criticized for that than anything that would be serious that could hurt a child."

Lopez says the district discussed the decision Sunday night, but delayed notifying parents until about 6:30 a.m. Monday.

"That really was too late, in the sense that it was still too disruptive to too many people," he said. "I think that given the morning temperatures, and the reality of that versus the forecast since it was a bit colder than was forecast, led me to think of young children waiting on the bus."

The call to cancel school came after several crews checked outside walking conditions and school heating systems. Lopez says all the heaters were working, but the cold temperatures were too low for students to get to school safely.

"The process started the same way," Lopez said. "Getting the word out was not as crisp as it should've been."

But the Science Museum Oklahoma didn't mind the day-off school.

"Had that not happened we would've not had as many people in the building today because they're all going back to school for the first time in several weeks," said Wayne Harris-Wyrick, longtime planetarium director for the science museum.

Pre-K teacher Amy Stutzman and her son welcomed the sudden change of plans.

"It would've been nice to have known last night before we had to set alarms, but it was ok, we knew in plenty of time today," said Stutzman, who teaches at Telstar Elementary School. "I think it was good to close school for all the children who have to walk."

Stutzman's son in fifth grade said he enjoyed having another day to spend with his mother.

"Just really fun, rather than staying at home sitting down and watching TV," said Christopher Stutzman of Choctaw.

The district had a board meeting Monday night at 6:30, and decided that school will be back in session Tuesday.

Oklahoma City Public Schools won't have to make up the missed school day since they've had four snow days so far out of seven days built in the school calendar.

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