NewsLocal News

Actions

'A sense of normalcy'

OPS and its partners work to help students
Posted: 12:27 PM, Sep 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-21 17:27:36Z

As complexes sit empty at Yale Park Apartments, life must go on for tenants displaced including the youngest.

Thursday marked the first night for 120 people who spent the night away from their own beds and instead slept on cots at the Adams Park Community Center. Columbus Park Community Center housed 50 people. Both centers are operating as temporary shelters.

The relocation is only the beginning of many firsts as several shuttle vans pulled up early Friday morning for a smooth operation of restoring a daily routine for students.

"At the very last moment Thursday and Friday, we had to a lot of scrambling," said Dr. Franklin Thompson, director of the city's Human Rights and Relations department.

The mission: providing transportation to school.

Roughly 170 children are students of the Omaha school district, going to 18 schools.

Unlike their living status, their assigned bus stops did not change.

Instead, Boys Town provided shuttle vans and drivers to transport students to and from the two community shelters to the bus stops.

From there, Omaha Public Schools picked up the ride and dropped the students off at their schools.

We strategize through the night, and worked with the city of Omaha to coordinate this effort, said Lisa Utterback, executive director of school support at OPS.

The coordinated work feels personal for the district and its partners as it's more about providing a sense of normalcy during uncertain times.

"There's a lot of emotions from students and families," Utterback said. "So, we're just doing everything we can to maintain stability to and from school."