Parents and students involved in public school arts programs are waiting for guidelines to resume some sort of in-person activity as sports like football have already begun their fall seasons.
Madison Fonzi, a senior at Putnam City North High School, said the orchestra has been locked into virtual rehearsals and performances.
“I understand that Putnam City (Schools) is trying to keep up safe, but we ask that if they want to keep up safe, make sure it’s (equal) across everyone,” Fonzi said.
Fonzi, also a member of the school choir, said she would be willing to take measures to limit possible exposure, including wearing a mask and social distancing.
“We can minimize that risk to ourselves very easily,” Fonzi said.
In a statement, Putnam City Schools said the guidelines in place were created to keep students safe.
“Putnam City Schools Athletic and Fine Arts Departments met to decide specific protocols for their respective areas. Decisions made by each area determined how their department would create the safest experience for students,” the district said in a statement.
PCS released guidelines this month for high school sports, music and other student activities.
Last week, the Putnam City High School football team played Bartlesville in a scrimmage ahead of the fall season.
Fonzi said arts programs like orchestra have not been given an option to return to indoor rehearsals.
“I just think it’s unequal treatment,” Fonzi said. “I understand that sports has a big part in our school, but our fine arts (department) does too, and I don’t want them to discount that by just not taking the time to understand our concerns.”
Putnam City started its first completely virtual school year on Thursday.
Similar to Fonzi, John Mankin said arts programs are waiting for guidelines to resume while sports have already begun the season.
Mankin’s daughter is a 7th grader at OKCPS’ Classen SAS Middle School and is a member of multiple arts groups.
“(Sports are) running completely normal, and everything else is shut down for safety,” Mankin said.
Dr. Sean McDaniel, the OKCPS Superintendent, said in an Aug. 21 video update to parents that policies for more in-person groups to meet are in the works.
“We’re still examining whether or not we can bring other smaller groups of kids into a building and what that might look like,” McDaniel said.
Oklahoma City Public Schools begins its virtual semester on Monday.