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Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel has announced that Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students will return to the in-person classroom setting starting Monday, October 19.

To facilitate safe distances, students will return on an A/B schedule where all students each school’s student body will login remotely on Monday following their daily class schedule with their teacher.

Then one-half of the student body will come to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other half will attend school on Wednesdays and Fridays. After Monday, students not scheduled to be at school will do asynchronous lessons online during their days at home.

New trigger

This comes after McDaniel reported to the Board of Education Monday that the determining factor for bringing the youngest students back to the classroom would be if Oklahoma County stayed at the Oklahoma State Department of Education Orange Level 1 through Friday which happened.

Unless county levels trigger the Oklahoma State Department of Education Red Level Alert, 1st through 12th grades are scheduled to return to in-person classroom settings November 9.

The Red Level will trigger new plans for instruction for all grades at any time.

In what has become a regular email to parents and staff at the end of the school week, McDaniel said Friday that because the county had stayed at Orange Level 1, the plan is to bring Pre-K and Kindergarten students back into the classroom after Fall Break.

The previous trigger was SDE Orange Level 2. But, now it is the Red Level Alert that will trigger switching back to all-virtual instruction to hold down infections.

“…we know our state may be faced with a fluctuation between Orange Alert Level 1 and 2 for the foreseeable future,” McDaniel wrote. “And, for this reason, we announced last week that OKCPS believes it is more appropriate and consistent to make any significant instructional changes for our district at the OSDE Red Alert level.”

Rapid changes

In mid-September, the district announced that it had plans to bring Pre-K and Kindergarten students back October 19 and all other grades back November 9. But, as infection levels grew in the county those plans were postponed.

In addition, Friday, September 25, McDaniel abruptly canceled all athletic events indefinitely because of rising county infection levels. Parents and teachers informally began to report rising infections among students and teachers prompting the OKCPS media relations department to stop stonewalling about the numbers infected in the district. Infection levels are now promised every Friday.

The plan

Friday’s email from McDaniel specified the following activities will happen unless Oklahoma County goes to Red Level:

  • Continuation of High School athletics and extracurricular activities
  • Continuation of 90-minute (optional) curricular and co-curricular afterschool activities
  • In-person instruction for students with special needs who were in a self-contained classroom will resume Monday, October 19 on a 4 days a week, 4 hours a day schedule (This is the same schedule that was used when these students returned to in-person learning on September 8)
  • All district staff will return to full time schedule of 5 days a week in-person on Monday, October 19, and the OKCPS Children in the Workplace program will also resume on Monday, October 19
  • Move forward with our plan to welcome our Alternative Education students at Putnam Heights, Emerson North and Emerson South, back to in-person learning in an A/B setting on Monday, October 19
  • Move forward with our plan to welcome our remaining 1st – 12th grade students back for in-person learning in an A/B setting on Monday, November 9.

Unique Fall Break

Starting Monday and going through Wednesday, students and teachers will logon at home for instruction. Then, Fall break for students will be Thursday and Friday.

“If families need support next week while school buildings are closed, they can call 58-STUDY (587-8839) for academic support or 587-HELP (4357)for technical support,” McDaniel’s email read. “And don’t forget our curbside meal services will only be available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.”

Infection levels

The follow self-reported cases have been reported between October 2 through October 8. The report covers cases from the previous Friday through the close of business on Thursday.

Last Updated October 9, 2020, 4:11 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor