“We’re ready for it,” El Reno schools stay open despite severe weather risk

EL RENO, Okla. - While a majority of schools canceled class Monday, one metro district decided to stay open.

El Reno school officials say it’s actually safer to have school during storms than to cancel classes.

“We feel really confident that our kids will be safe,” said Craig McVay, El Reno Public Schools Superintendent.

McVay had a normal day at school despite the high chance of severe weather.

“We’re ready for it,” said McVay. “We drilled it. The kids know what to do.”

But, some parents weren't happy about the decision. Many took to social media and posted their thoughts on the school district's Facebook page.

One person said, “This is ridiculous.”

Another saying, “I would rather my daughter be home with me, so I will be picking her up even if that means her being counted absent.”

McVay says that’s fine.

“We encourage that. It’s totally a call for a parent to make.”

In 2015, El Reno Public Schools built underground storm shelters at all of their schools, and safe rooms at one facility, which was paid for by taxpayers.

“We feel like they’re in the best hands,” said McVay. “They’re with their teacher, teachers aid and at times, all of our adults are there too. It’s a pretty safe environment.”

It’s also open to the public.

However, the school will hold the students if there’s a tornado warning before school is let out.

Once the students and teachers are in the shelter, anyone else is welcome.

“We think we have room for up to 10,000 people,” said McVay. “We want everyone to come in. We have rules, but the number one rule is that we want to save people’s lives.”

McVay says pets are not allowed in any of the shelters.

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