The superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools now says the decision by the state superintendent to close all public schools in the state is “imminent.”
Superintendent Sean McDaniel said in a prepared statement that he and his staff had been preparing for the possibility “around the clock for several weeks.”
His prepared statement to parents and employees of the largest district in Oklahoma came soon after Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister issued a statement earlier in the afternoon.
She notified the public of her plans to recommend closing public schools for the remainder of the year to control the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
Other states have already made the decision to close for the rest of their school year.
Remainder of year
Her statement said she would recommend a “Continuous Learning Plan” to the state Board of Education in a virtual meeting Wednesday, March 25.
If the state Board approves, face-to-face school teaching and activities will be over for the rest of the year.
The statement read that “there will not be traditional, in-person instruction or extracurricular activities, instead following critical safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control with regard to social distancing for students, staff and school families.”
“Determined to support”
“We are determined to support our Pre-K through high school students as well as English learners, special education students and those who need reinforced skills or additional enrichment,” said Hofmeister.
“This coordinated, swift and thoughtful action will help safeguard the health and well-being of our communities, students and professionals in public schools. We must do absolutely everything in our power to reduce transmission of coronavirus.”
Districts will be expected to develop their own distance learning plans and will not have to gain approval from the State Department of Education.
At present, districts do not have to clear their curricula with the state although the state does set learning standards curricula is expected to meet.
McDaniel was equally reassuring in his communication with OKCPS parents and staff.
“This is a difficult time and we know there are many unknowns, but one thing is certain. The health and safety of OKCPS students and staff is our top priority,” said McDaniel.
The communication said that district staff will be coordinating and consulting with state curriculum staff to complete the development of a distance learning curriculum by April 6.
OKCPS started its meal delivery plan to keep children nourished during the shut-down delivering to 42 locations including district buildings and city parks.
It is not yet known either what kind of curriculum the district will develop or the future status of the meal delivery plan beyond April 6.
Developing a statewide curriculum for distance learning is not in the normal flow of development either for the State Department of Education or for local districts.
Typically, curriculum development in public schools is a multi-year process that is framed for face-to-face teaching.
In the normal flow of development, state curriculum leaders in the various subjects lead volunteer teams of teachers in the subject areas to develop new curricula about every five to ten years.
The development process is staggered so that all major subject areas such as English, Math, Social Studies, and Science are not trying to produce new curricula at the same time.
After the curriculum in the subject area is developed, districts choose textbooks and materials to meet those particular standards and goals.
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