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Metro organizations preparing for teacher walkout

(KOKH/FILE)

Preparing for a teacher walkout is no easy task for organizations working to take on the responsibilities associated with caring for students.

As Oklahoma teachers draw nearer to the April 1 deadline for a walkout, the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City is one of those organizations.

"We're doing what we can right now, looking at our spaces and our licensing issues with DHS,” said Rachel Klein, vice president of communications.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has numerous licensing requirements that must be met by organizations. Some of those include teacher to child ratio, as well as background checks. Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), encourages facilities to ensure they meet all DHS requirements before volunteering to care for students.

"We want people to volunteer,” Dorman said. “We want people to help out. But we want those organizations to make sure they know what they're getting into, also."

Dorman says the OICA is working with community leaders from across the state to compile a list of organizations which will provide child care and nutrition programs during the upcoming planned education walkout in April.

Freedom Oklahoma is in the process of organizing a food drive and sack lunch program.

"As we looked more in to it, we realized that 61 percent of Oklahoma students are on the free meals program and just wanted to figure out how we could help." Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson said.

Like the YMCA, Freedom Oklahoma is still figuring out the logistics. In the end, both they, as well as the OICA, say it's critical that the needs of the most vulnerable are met should a walkout happen.

"Clearly, the YMCA is very focused on child development and youth development and safe places for kids to be, so we want to do what we can, of course within the restraints that are available,” Klein said.

FOX 25 is in the process of putting a list of organizations planning to offer services during the planned teacher walkout. That list will be available on our website in the coming days.

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