Officials had managed to bus some children to a nearby church, which turned out to be clear of the tornado's direct path, KFOR reported.
After the tornado, terrified parents hurried to get as close to the school as the devastation allowed. They had been helpless during the twister, unable to get to their loved ones, desperate. They were sent to the church to begin what for some would be a horrible wait.
The devastation on psyches is palpable throughout Moore.
"We have not yet reached the coping state," a first responder named Wes told CNN iReport Tuesday "We still have not processed what has happened."
Disaster sparks call for shelters
Even so, the horror has already sparked calls for changes in Oklahoma schools.
Plaza Towers Elementary did not have a storm shelter.
"Most of the schools in Oklahoma don't have one" because of the cost, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN. But he said he's sure that will change.
Schools that rebuilt after a massive tornado in 1999 do have storm shelters, he said.
Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McBride called for legislation next year. "The children are sacred. We need to protect these kids," he said.
The state is so used to having tornadoes that people "get lax" and think "it's not a big deal," he said.
Now, McBride added, "it's got to change."