Oklahoma coverage

  • Heather Forbes

Oklahoma City

The White House announced Thursday President Joe Biden has approved Gov. Kevin Stitt’s request for an emergency declaration in response to the recent winter storm, the Associated Press reported.

Biden Wednesday approved the request made after the storm dumped snow and ice across the state and brought days of subfreezing temperatures and power outages. Stitt has declared a statewide emergency last Friday as the winter storm was approaching the state and said he spoke with Biden by phone Tuesday, according to AP.

Biden’s approval allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all emergency relief efforts, and it allows for federal funding to reimburse cities, counties and tribes for the cost of emergency measure responding to the storm, including providing shelter for displaced residents, AP reported.


Shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine to Oklahoma are being delayed “multiple days” because of wintry weather which dumped snow and ice across much of the United States, the Associated Press reported.

“While the timing of this inclement winter weather is frustrating for widespread vaccine distribution efforts across the country, we are doing everything in our power to avoid large-scale waste during this time and to continue serving as many Oklahomans as possible,” Deputy State Health Commissioners Keith Reed said in a statement.

Numerous vaccination clinics across Oklahoma already were canceled or postponed because of the weather. Additional vaccine clinics are planned for this weekend, weather permitting, and the state expects 137,000 doses of the vaccine next week, according to AP.

“OSDH does not expect overall supply to be impacted by the weather, but timelines for distribution may be delayed multiple days,” Reed said in a statement.

Oklahoma City

House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, Tuesday passed a bill in the House Common Education Committee he said is designed to help students become more engaged citizens, according to a release from the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

House Bill 2030 would require high school students to pass the United States’ naturalization test in order to graduate beginning the 2022- 23 school year. O’Donnell pointed out 14 other states have adopted legislation which requires high school students to pass the civics portion of the immigration and naturalization test. He said he thinks Oklahoma students would benefit from that as well so they would have a better understanding of how their government works, according to the release.

“The vast majority of studies show both students and adults in our country have an insufficient knowledge of our history and of our government system,” O’Donnell said. “This bill is designed to help remedy that. This is the same test we require of anyone coming to this country and seeking citizenship. I don’t think this is too much to ask of our students.”

HB 2030 would require subject matter standards for history, social studies and U.S. Government courses in Oklahoma public schools to include the study of important historical documents, including the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation and Federalist Paper. It passed the House Common Education Committee with a vote of 11-3 and is eligible to be considered by the full house, according to the release.

Oklahoma City

While many schools across the state were closed Monday due to winter weather, thousands of Oklahoma educators spent their day learning how to recognize trauma in students and create teaching strategies to overcome stress and fear, according to a release from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

OSDE estimated up to 4,500 teachers, counselors and other school leaders attended its fourth statewide summit for trauma-informed instruction. The oneday virtual conference, “Awareness to Action: Creating Trauma-Informed Schools through Multi-Teared Systems of Support,” went beyond previous OSDE summits in its focus on using equitably, targeted framework designed to address students’ academic, behavioral and mental health needs, according to the release.

Keynote speaker Heather Forbes challenged participants to learn the language of trauma explaining how student reactions which originate from a lens of fear need a calculated, caring response from teachers who understand how socialemotional struggles can manifest in disruptive behavior, according to the release.

“Our kids are coming to use from a very different lens,” Forbes said. “Instead of coming from a love-based place, they’re coming to use from a fear-based place, so many of our students have a level of anger. Anger is armor, so many of our kids are carrying around deep pain.”