Oklahoma's Own In Focus: Districts Explain Decision To Cancel, Pivot Classes Another Day

School administrators say many factors go into the decision to cancel classes or move them online. This includes everything from neighborhood roads to how temperatures could impact students and buses.

Wednesday, January 17th 2024, 6:14 pm

By: Cal Day


School administrators say many factors go into the decision to cancel classes or move them online. This includes everything from neighborhood roads to how temperatures could impact students and buses.

Bixby students spent the day out of class on a traditional snow day. The maintenance team is testing buses to make sure they are ready to run again soon.

The frigid temperatures take a toll on transportation.

“That fuel can gel up and gum up the works, and buses can stop along their route,” said Rob Miller, Bixby's superintendent.

Miller says district officials travel the bus routes to check out conditions. That information plays into decision-making.

“Most of the main roads are fine, but it is those small neighborhood roads, the rural roads,” he said. “Especially in southeast Bixby. That can get pretty treacherous.”

The district builds snow days into the calendar and chooses to use them for short-term weather inconveniences.

“We will do distance learning as a last resort,” said Miller. “For the most part, we want to reserve those days in person.”

It’s a different story in Jenks, where classes happened online. The district keeps an eye on the forecast and sends home Chromebooks if there’s a threat of bad weather.

“When we can see that coming, what we’re able to do is we’re able to prepare our staff and our teachers for that possibility,” said Rob Loeber, Jenks Public Schools. “The nice thing is we’re able to send home devices with most of our students as well.”

Jenks has snow days, but the district tries to keep them so they don’t have to make the days up later. Dangerous temperatures played a big part in the decision to pivot.

“We have a fairly open campus at our high school where kids have to walk in between buildings,” said Loeber.

Both districts are aiming for classes to resume in-person on Thursday.

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