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Schools watching weather amid severe storm threat

Columbia schools are watching the weather ahead of possible afternoon storms that might pop up during or after dismissal.

Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said CPS is prepared for a wide range of scenarios.

Baumstark said the district will not release students if the weather is severe. If students are already on a bus going home and the weather gets severe, the bus drivers have a protocol to keep the students safe, she said. Baumstark said bus drivers have taken students to the nearest school building for shelter in previous severe weather situations.

Diocese of Jefferson City spokeswoman Helen Osman said Catholic schools in the area also have protocols to keep students safe. She said each school will send parents and guardians a text or some form of communication from the school regarding schedule changes.

Superintendent of Southern Boone School District Chris Felmlee said bus drivers and students are prepared for severe weather.

“The kids actually do a drill once a semester as far as bus evacuations, and we talk about severe weather and tornadoes specifically, as well as fire,” Felmlee said.

Like in Columbia, Felmlee said Southern Boone schools would hold children at school if a severe storm hits at dismissal time.

“If we were in a watch and it was imminent something is near us I don’t want to release the students,” Felmlee said. “That is something we monitor moment to moment.”

However, Felmlee said schools cannot keep students if a parent or guardian insists on picking them up. He encourages parents to stay in until the threat lowers.

“Ultimately it’s the parents choice if they want to take their kid home, I can’t stop them,” he said.

ABC 17 StormTrack meteorologists say severe weather is possible between 3 p.m. and midnight.

Look for weather updates throughout the day.

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