OKCPS Teachers Prepare For Virtual Start To 2020-2021 School Year

Wednesday, July 22nd 2020, 9:32 pm

The Oklahoma City Public Schools are prepping more than 40,000 iPads and Chromebooks for distribution to each of its students.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education voted to delay the first day of school and to conduct all classes virtually for the first nine weeks of the term.

OKCPS spokeswoman Crystal Raymond said Wednesday that the district has received all the devices and are preparing them for students. A distribution plan is in the works, Raymond said.

Mary Best, the president of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said the move to online classes was the “right decision.”

“We can always mitigate loss of learning but we can't mitigate loss of life,” Best said.

While the district does have the electronic devices necessary for virtual classes, Best said there will be “growing pains” to the new system.

“There’s a lot to implementing something like that,” she said. “You’re looking at having a classroom full of kids that, for many of them, have never met their teacher or anyone in their school.”

OKCPS will offer two options for virtual learning, according to an OKCPS statement sent Wednesday evening.

In the “traditional” option, teachers will lead students “in a small group online classroom setting.” This option will be reevaluated during the school year on whether it’s possible to return to in-person learning.

The other option, dubbed “e3 Online Learning," will be primarily “self-led learning” where students will have access to a teacher as a mentor. For this option, a nine-week commitment is required by pre-K through 5th grade students. Middle and high school students must commit for a semester.

"I realize this is a lot to digest during an already challenging time, but we ask that everyone please be patient as we continue to finalize the many facets of our new plan,” said Sean McDaniel, the OKCPS superintendent. “One thing that will never change is our focus on the health, wellness and safety of our students and their families, our staff and our community. You are always our top priority and every decision is made with your best interest in mind.”