School Districts Across Oklahoma Transition to Virtual Learning Amid Spike In Illnesses

Tuesday, December 6th 2022, 10:10 pm


Whether it’s inside the classroom or the hospital, Oklahomans are feeling the toll of respiratory illnesses this season.

Doctors are calling this the tri-demic, between the flu, RSV and COVID students and teachers are calling in sick in record numbers.

“It came down to we’ve got about a third of our staff that were calling out sick,” said Dale Spradlin, the Superintendent for Buffalo Public Schools.

“We have had an unprecedented level of respiratory viruses coming in through the ER,” said Donna Tyungu, MD who works at OU Children’s Hospital as the Chief Of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “It’s okay for people to bring those masks back out if they really need their child to be in school."

Smaller school districts adjusting to the shortage by going virtual. Buffalo Public Schools said they’re hitting the pause button this week.

“We just decided to go ahead and take a couple of days and see if we couldn’t get ahead of it and then we are going to come back Friday if everybody is well and try and finish the week,” said Spradlin.

Thomas-Fay-Custer Schools is also shifting to distance learning for Wednesday.

“If you look at the CDC data two weeks ago, we were in the mild moderate level and now we are in like very high levels of activity of influenza,” said Dr. Tyungu.

Metro districts are still learning in person. Edmond and Oklahoma City Public Schools said they are monitoring the situation.

The spokesperson for Edmond Public Schools said when it comes to closing, it happens by class, grade level, school, and then entire district.

“It’s just a deal where you look at, ‘Okay can you cover what you have in people that are gone?’ Honestly, if I didn’t have so many staff members gone, we would probably go ahead and try and have school because we are so close to the end of the semester,” said Spradlin.

“If someone has not gotten their child vaccinated against influenza yet it is not too late, we don’t know how long this season is going to last,” said Dr. Tyungu.


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