Western Heights Public Schools Continue To Try To Get Students Ready For Distance Learning

Thursday, August 27th 2020, 5:16 pm
By: Storme Jones

Cars wrapped around Western Heights schools for the fourth day this week as the district races to get students ready for distance learning.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, approximately half of the district’s students don’t have Internet access at home, making online enrollment and distance learning difficult. 

“We are waiting in the car for over two hours,” Janie Jones said Wednesday. “I never believed it could be like this. I thought we would get here on the first day and it would be smooth sailing.”

The Western Heights Education Association is hosting a community meeting 6 p.m. Thursday at the ROC Church, 7710 NW 10th Street.

They said they’re concerned with the financial health of the school and what some call diminishing opportunities for low income students.

The district said ahead of an unprecedented school year, they’re trying their best.

“We’re taking every safety precaution we can and we’re only allowing anywhere from four to six different parents in at a time,” Superintendent Mannix Barnes said Wednesday. “That’s for their safety as well as our teachers and staff who are manning these positions to make sure they take care of all the kids.”

Some parents told News 9 it’s catch-22; they must enroll online before students get iPads or laptops, but they need the Internet-enabled devices to enroll online. The district will provide laptops for in-person, online enrollment and device pick up all week.

“Most of our folks who have been coming through have had some sort of language barrier or they’ve had a lack of internet access,” Barnes said. “So, it’s been perfect for both of us to where we can actually help those folks and get them through the process quickly.”

Classes are set to begin online next Wednesday.