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Oklahoma City Public Schools will continue on its march toward bringing the youngest students back October 19 and the rest of the student body November 9.

OKCPS Superintendent Sean McDaniel sent another message to parents and staff Friday announcing that they were moving forward on their Return to Campus plan after setting a new, higher infection level trigger for shifting back to all-virtual.

The trigger, up until Friday, was if Oklahoma County moved from Oklahoma State Department of Education Orange Level 1 to Orange Level 2.

That happened last week resulting in the district abruptly cancelling most athletic events and raising doubts about when the district would go ahead with their incremental plan for getting students back to in-person learning.

An explanation of the OSDE alert levels can be found HERE.

Fluid situation

OKCPS started the school year all-virtual except with athletics proceeding using stringent safety measures both on the field and in the locker room.

The Return to Campus plan, announced September 17, was to bring back Pre-K and Kindergarten students October 19 splitting each building’s classes into A and B groups to reduce crowding and allow distancing in the classroom. Then, 1st through 12 grades were to return November 9 until infection levels shifted the county from Orange Level 1 to 2.

But, state Health and Education Department officials have cautioned district leaders that there is a high probability for Oklahoma County to continue fluctuating between Orange Levels 1 and 2 for some time.

Thus, the new trigger, McDaniel wrote, will be Red Alert level for sending students home again to hold down the infections in the district.

Throughout this fall semester, McDaniel has been clear that the pandemic is a fluid situation leaving school administrators scrambling weekly to find ways to educate students the most effectively while holding down the dangers of exposure.

The plan

Here is the plan as of the announcement Friday, October 2 as provided by the OKCPS Media Relations Department:

  • High School athletics and extracurricular activities will resume on Monday, October 5
  • 90-minute (optional) curricular and co-curricular after school activities will resume on Monday, October 5
  • 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 Newcomer and English Language Development students in grades 5th – 12th back to in-person learning in an A/B setting on Monday, October 26 
  • 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. 

Infections report

As promised, McDaniel gave a report on the self-reported infection levels and quarantines as of Thursday.

McDaniel gave the following definitions for the report’s terminology:

“Close Contact” Exposure refers to the number of cases when a staff member or student was in “close contact” with a person who has tested positive for COVID and has been asked to quarantine. “Close contact” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention occurs when an individual is within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days (or 48 hours) before the infected person’s diagnosis.

Self-Reported Positive Cases refers to the number of cases when a staff member or student has notified OKCPS of positive results from a COVID-19 test.


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