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OKC Public Schools try to clear up “wind chill policy” confusion

OKLAHOMA CITY – While some parts of the state received a bit of snow following the drop in temperatures, students and parents in Oklahoma City were waiting to see if class would be canceled.

However, their concern had nothing to do with the snow on the ground.

Earlier this week, published news reports indicated the Oklahoma City Public School District had a new policy when it comes to temperatures and wind chills.

The report claimed a temperature of 10 degrees, or a wind chill of five degrees or below, would prompt administrators to close schools for the day.

On Tuesday, wind chills dipped to two degrees.

However, school was not canceled.

Misty Wainman says, “It doesn’t make sense. So, then I’m frustrated and I’m upset.”

According to the district’s new “wind chill policy,” school officials will begin talking about whether or not to close schools if the forecast calls for temperatures 15 degrees or below.

It also applies to wind chills five degrees or below.

On the day in question, if the actual temperature is 10 degrees below or the wind chill is below zero, chances are classes will be canceled.

Rod McKinley, the district’s safety director, said, “This is not a hard and fast rule, these are just guidelines.”

“I understand that it’s cold, I do,” says Wainman. “But they are taking it a little too far.”

“This past Friday, I got up early and it was four degrees outside with gusting winds chills of five to 10 degrees below zero,” says McKinley. “So, that was a pretty easy decision.”

On Tuesday, students enjoyed recess indoors.

While it was too cold to send them outside to play, the district says it was not too cold to wait at the bus stop in the morning.

“We’re absolutely sticking to our guidelines,” says McKinley. “I understand in the morning when I make my recommendation, I’m going to make some people happy and some people upset.”

Wainman says she isn’t just frustrated about the new policy, she’s upset school was canceled for cold temperatures in the first place.

She said, “No, I think they should still attend school!”

To address those frustrations, district officials have started conversations about just delaying school start times an hour or two until it warms up.