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Mid-Del Schools prepared for severe weather; looking to possibly add more shelters

Shardaa Gray/ KOKH

Mid-Del Public Schools said there are storm shelters at its schools and it could possibly add more.

To the untrained eye, the tornado shelter looks like a normal music classroom, but in an event of severe weather, this could potentially save a lot of children's lives and it all starts with a simple lock.

Two major locks are located on each storm shelter door. It will bolt down them down, keeping students safe while at school. Mid-Del Public Schools, superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb, said they have a 3-point tornado plan. The first, if they know a storm is coming a day in advance, they'll meet to consider cancelling classes.

“We'll call a severe weather day and just not have school. We did that one-time last year as a matter of fact,” Cobb said.

Second, if school is already in session, they'll send out a notification of an early release day. If students are still at the school, they'll go to one of the storm shelters. The third plan revolves around no advanced warnings.

“If a tornado were to happen suddenly and we didn't have enough warning to move kids around, we absolutely wouldn't try and put them on buses and move them anywhere,” Cobb said.

But Cobb said they have to keep a close eye on the radar so they know when to make the call of either keeping the students in the classroom or early dismissal.

“If a storm is in western Oklahoma, and we know that it's an hour away or an hour and half away, that helps guide our decision making as well,” Cobb said.

All of the storm shelters at Midwest City Elementary School can hold up to 900 children but school officials say there’s the potential to add more shelters in the future.

“What we plan to take to our board in June is a bond resolution that will increase the number of storm shelters in the school district,” Cobb said. “Somewhere between three and five new storm shelters.”

For schools like Pleasant Hill Elementary and Schwartz Elementary that don't have storm shelters; it's more of a reason to add more.

“We do want to get to a point where we can have shelters at those campuses because we don't want to be in a situation where transporting those students over for or five miles when a storms coming and people are out on the roads creates any kind of traffic situation,” Cobb said.

They've already held practice to determine how long it will take to bring students to the closest school with storm shelters.

Kids who attend Schwartz would be bussed to Soldier Creek Elementary and students at Pleasant Hill would be bussed to Del City Elementary.

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