OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau) today announced he will be working with public leaders to develop plans for young children and others in need following the closure of public schools for two weeks following Spring Break.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives is scheduled to adjourn Tuesday afternoon, and Kiger said he plans to be back in the district to continue work already taking place.
He will be speaking with business and industry leaders, health care professionals, city leaders, ministers, daycare owners, school leaders and anyone else available who wants to help and to develop plans make sure there are places for young children and how to get food to those in need.
This virtual meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 with the help of the Poteau Chamber of Commerce setting the opportunity of using Go to Meeting. We also will try to live stream through Facebook. I would call on all community leaders and county officials and anyone available to join in the meeting by one of these two sources to help assist us in this planning.
The State Board of Education voting to close schools for two weeks following Spring Break is creating many problems for us locally. The ripple effects are causing major problems for parents who are employed but have no child care available. This is a top priority of our people and for our businesses who need our help to assist them.
Kiger said he has contacted each of the public schools in the county to discuss their plans of possibly preparing meals for their students, and they are working with many others on helping to get these meals delivered to our kids up to the age of 18 who are able to stay at home.
For those parents who have children too young to stay home, they may be faced with no place to send them. Staying at home with their kids creates the real possibility of losing their jobs. This is more than an individual problem when you take into consideration the needs of health care and the need for these employees to be at work, especially at our nursing homes and hospitals.
Kiger has talked with the administrator at Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center as well as nursing home leaders to discuss possible steps to try and coordinate daycare options for their employees with young children. Discussions have also been held with Karen Wages at the Poteau Chamber and Arielle Perry with The LeFlore County Boys & Girls Club to see what can be done to help fill in the needs for younger children to ensure getting food for their kids while away from home.
Local churches also are working to help and assist in organizing these efforts to make sure no one is left behind or unattended.
All city mayors or city managers are being called to see what steps they may be taking to assist their towns. Kiger also is asking some of the businesses that can to consider allowing parents to bring their younger children to work if they don’t have relatives or childcare available. If children can get to different locations during the day, they have a better chance of making sure that food is provided.
“The best ideas are coming from our people,” Kiger said. “One lady suggested that when schools prepare meals they consider the option of bus drivers being allowed to run their routes with assistance from teachers to deliver food at specific times. This is a great idea, especially for staff. When schools are closed non-certified personnel don’t get paid while off and there is plenty of work they can do to continue receiving their pay related to helping with food. Certified personnel continue to receive pay at schools during a pandemic.”
“Everyone in LeFlore County in District 3 can play an important role as we work to avoid further spread of this virus during these next few weeks and months,” Kiger said.