Winters said the next hurdle is to establish policy. Once those tornado-safe doors are triple locked, they cannot be opened without compromising the safety of the children.
While parents can pick children up and take them home, Head Start staff are hoping children without a safe place to shelter will remain in their care until the danger has passed.
Six families and three Head Start staff members were displaced by the May 20 tornado. Donations poured in from across the nation to help.
Head Start children are already living in low-income or poverty-level circumstances.
Winters and her staff are glad the children at Moore will be safe from future storms.
In addition to writing policy, a future challenge will be to build storm shelters for each Head Start location managed by Crossroads Youth & Family Services.
Winters declined to speculate where the next location will being, saying that’s a decision her board will have to make. Crossroads operates Head Start programs in four counties.
The Moore Head Start has already had its first “storm practice,” and all of the children and staff — even those on the playground — were safely locked into the new shelter within three minutes, Dunkle said. Teachers made the drill a game. Because the word “tornado” has become so emotionally charged for Moore children, the term “severe weather” was used instead.
Winters and Stafford said the red tape and hurdles are worth the cost of knowing the children are safe.