The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 27, 2013

It’s back to school: Enid students return to class, McKinley finally gets power

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — McKinley Elementary School students had the day off Wednesday, since their school was the only one in Enid still without power following Monday’s blizzard.

But, it was no day off for McKinley teachers.

All Enid students got a four-day weekend because of the blizzard and widespread power outages. As of Tuesday night, power was restored at every school except McKinley, so classes resumed everywhere but there.

However, most McKinley teachers spent Wednesday working at other schools.

“We knew with illnesses going around, the power outage and the difficulty of getting to work after that, we might need additional substitutes for Wednesday,” said Amber Fitzgerald, human resources and communications director for EPS. “About 20 McKinley teachers and one student teacher went out and worked at the other buildings on Wednesday. If we didn’t need them to take an entire classroom, we had them do one-on-one work with students who needed extra help.”

At most Enid schools, the first day back was smooth, but Adams Elementary School had power trouble in part of the building during the morning.

“They placed a phone call to all parents to let them know about the situation and some did pick up their children,” Fitzgerald said. “Classes were relocated to warm areas of the building.”

By late morning full power was restored at Adams. Power was restored at McKinley shortly before noon.

“I was standing in the building when the power came back on,” Fitzgerald said. “Boy, those security alarms really go crazy.”

School custodians spent Tuesday clearing snow from sidewalks, steps and parking lots so all would be ready for the students to return on Wednesday, Fitzgerald said.

“Every building has ice melt and a snow blower, so our maintenance guys are ready to take care of it,” Fitzgerald said. “We use larger equipment to clear the parking lots. The city helped us with clearing parking lots Tuesday, and we really appreciate that.”

Polly Maxwell principal at Monroe Elementary School, said most students made it to class Wednesday.

“Our attendance is not back to full, but it’s almost,” Maxwell said.

Two McKinley teachers worked at Monroe Wednesday, Maxwell said.

One was a substitute teacher for a 4-year-old classroom and the other helped out in several ways throughout the day.

Maxwell said she’s aware some of the students — and some teachers as well — still had no power at their homes by Wednesday afternoon.

“Monroe was roasty, toasty warm this morning,” Maxwell said. “Our staff did a good job of having the place ready and having everything cleared.”

Students were glad to be back to school, Maxwell said.

“They enjoy their breaks and they’re ready to be back in their routine, back in school where they are safe and warm,” Maxwell said. “Our teachers took some time this morning to let them talk about their four-day weekend and then got them into the lessons.”

Kathy Edson, principal at Garfield Elementary School, said having McKinley teachers on hand was a blessing. At Garfield, McKinley teachers worked with students who needed one-on-one help.

“Being overstaffed is a luxury we don’t get very much,” Edson said. “It helped with time missed.”

Edson noted with the end of the third nine weeks just around the corner, this is a critical time for missing school.

Edson said she’s aware of households in the Garfield attendance area that still had no power at home Wednesday morning.

“We had a warm, beautiful building and tacos for lunch,” Edson said. “It couldn’t have been better.”