State Department Of Education Releases Framework For Reopening Of Schools

Wednesday, June 3rd 2020, 11:17 am
By: Caleigh Bourgeois

The Oklahoma State Board of Education has provided options, recommendations and resources for school districts returning in the fall.

A new 74-page document advises schools to prepare for possible distance learning again.

Suggestions include spreading out learning spaces, having students eat lunch in their classrooms, and even virtual field trips.

“We need to be ready for whatever happens next year,” Oklahoma state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said.

The 2020-2021 state plan not only focuses on returning from quarantine, but continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Hofmeister asked districts to layer multiple safeguards.

“There may be a time where washing your hands, not coming to school if you’re sick, taking a temperature check before a child leaves for a bus in the morning. These are things families can do to assist,” Hofmeister said.

Each district can choose what works best individually, but Hofmeister recommends plans be put in place for the possibility that distance learning is implemented again.

The state board is working on supplying hot spots and other digital resources to make that more accessible this time around.

“Without the access to digital technology, it really can put families at a disadvantage and children that are in those homes,” Hofmeister said.

The document also warned districts to be prepared for a shortage in bus drivers, as many may be in populations especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

Schools have been granted the option to hold classes on Saturdays, or to start the school year early if need be.

Other recommendations include keeping non-school related activity out of district buildings, rethinking staff sick day policies, and educating students on hand washing.