School's Out for.... Severe Weather?

Jul 16, 2013

Jefferson School, Shawnee, Oklahoma. Destroyed by a tornado on March 28, 1924.

  The Oklahoma Department of Education requires schools to provide 175 days of instruction.  Districts can cancel school for any weather, anytime of the year.  

In light of the May tornado outbreak, 'tornado days,' could be a new state policy according to State Impact Oklahoma.  Other possibilities include: changing building codes to increase safety in public structures, requiring new school buildings to have shelters, and funding shelters for schools currently without.

Some experts disagree with the 'tornado day' solution because tornados typically occur early in the evening after the school day has ended.  The solution also has possible problems.  Students could be stranded in an approaching storm if let out early, and school adjournment could cause traffic jams at a time when seconds count.    

Oklahoma is not the first state to consider this option.  Tuscaloosa, Alabama City Schools canceled classes on April 27, 2007.  When the storm was over, they discovered the EF-4 tornado had destroyed two buildings.