Oklahoma Considers Mask Mandate For Public Schools; Districts Prep Scattered Start Plans


Monday, July 13th 2020, 10:27 pm
By: Barry Mangold


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Local school boards and administrators are working to prepare individual plans for the return to class this fall.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Superintendent Joy Hofmeister are considering a statewide mask requirement for public schools, according to a department spokesperson.

If approved, such a mandate would disrupt several districts’ plans that do not currently include mandatory masks. The board’s next meeting is Thursday, July 23.

At their meeting Monday, Oklahoma City Public Schools discussed changing its expectations for face coverings this fall. Last week, the district approved of only requiring staff members to wear one, not students.

Monday, OKCPS Deputy Superintendent Jason Brown recommended all students in grades 5-12 be required to mask up.

Edmond Public Schools, which released its plan to return last week, changed the length of commitment for students looking to enroll in online classes, the district posted on Facebook Monday.

Neither students nor staff will be required to wear masks at Bethany Public Schools, but face coverings will be “strongly recommended,” according to the plan on the districts website.

Meanwhile, the Piedmont Public School district announced on Monday that all staff and students will be required to wear face covering in the upcoming school year. Superintendent Dr. James White said he expects there to be a statewide mandate on face coverings by the time school starts.

“Nothing else matters if we can’t keep our kids healthy and safe,” White said. “I think that’s a small price for us to pay.”

Yukon, Deer Creek and Mustang school districts have all posted their own plans for the Fall online.

Norman, Putnam City and Moore Public Schools are all expected to release plans this week.