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Friday Oklahoma City Public Schools announced a new, much more restrictive approach to contacts between students, teachers, and staff as Oklahoma County’s COVID infections reached state-designated Orange Level 2.

Oklahoma County rose to the new level after cases per 100,000 rose to 26.2 this week compared to 15.80 last week.

The most dramatic of the changes for students is the cancellation of all athletic activities “until further notice.”

Outdoor sports planned for this weekend were allowed but all indoor activities were cancelled immediately.

The district planned for Pre-K and Kindergarten students to return to campus October 19 and 1st through 12 grades return November 9. Now they are preparing to continue to shift instruction modes according to the ups and downs of the pandemic.

OKCPS started the school year with all-virtual instruction but allowed the athletic seasons to begin with measures intended to cut down on the possibility of infections among athletes and fans.

Effects on Students

This is the bullet-point list included in an OKCPS message to family and staff Friday afternoon from Superintendent Sean McDaniel:

  • Students participating in our traditional Remote Learning program will continue with their existing schedule.
  • Students participating in our e3 Online Learning program will continue with their self-paced learning and check-ins with OKCPS mentor teachers.
  • OKCPS has made a decision to suspend our in-person learning for Special Education self-contained classes until further notice. These families should watch for additional communication from Erin Trussell, our Director of Special Education.
  • Outdoor athletic events scheduled for this evening and tomorrow will continue as planned. However, all indoor athletics are canceled immediately.
  • All OKCPS athletics and extracurricular events and practices will be canceled until further notice beginning Monday, September 28.
  • Visitation to any OKCPS building will be by appointment only for students, families and other parties. Please reach out to your child’s school via phone or email to make arrangements.
  • OKCPS Meal Service will continue in the drive-thru option only. www.okcps.org/schoolmeals

Effects on Staff

Also included in the Friday message was this list of changes in work for school staff:

  • OKCPS will transition to a reduced in-person schedule for staff in an office setting.
  • Essential staff will continue to report 5 days a week, as usual. Supervisors will assist with scheduling and notification.
  • Teachers and other certified staff who are covered under the collective bargaining unit may provide instruction from home. Those who do not feel comfortable teaching from home or have challenges with connectivity will be allowed to work from school 5-days a week. Please work with your supervisor to finalize your schedule during Orange Level 2.
  • Other school-based staff, including administrators, should transition to a reduced in-person schedule.
  • Supervisors will assist with scheduling and notification. All school and district sites should work to provide office coverage each day of the week.
  • All break rooms and small conference rooms will be closed until further notice.
  • Building visitation will be by appointment only for students, families, staff and other parties.
  • OKCPS’ “Children In the Workplace” program is suspended immediately.

Continuing commitment to safety

McDaniel concluded the message by saying that the report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health “reminds us of how fluid our situation is.”

He said that even though the district has engaged in extensive planning for what might happen next, “…OKCPS remains committed to adjusting our plan as needed to help protect our students and staff.”

Last Updated September 26, 2020, 8:47 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor