OEA Responds To Parents Wanting Students Back In The Classroom

Wednesday, September 9th 2020, 5:39 pm
By: Tevis Hillis

The Oklahoma Education Association said this is a difficult time for everyone, but it is essential to listen to the health professionals on how to learn safely.

"More than anything, our educators want to be back to in school with their kids, but when it is safe," said Katherine Bishop, the Oklahoma Education Association's vice president.

Yet, some parents demand their districts return to the classroom.

Parents in Edmond, Deer Creek and Stillwater public schools have all created petitions and collected signatures to force the issue.

"Though SPS is trying its best, having no in-person option simply does not provide a fair and equitable education. The learning loss will be so deep many students will never recover," Stillwater's petition stated.

"This isn't march, there's no stay at home order, kids are in day cares, kids are in school camps, kids are with babysitters, they are doing activities, for goodness sake's, Stillwater Public Schools has a football game," said one parent at the Stillwater's school board meeting.

However, according to the state education and health departments, Stillwater remains in the Orange 2 alert level.

That means distance learning is still recommended.

"For educators, it is definitely keeping their self and community safe, but it is also keeping those safe for those who they go home to," said Bishop. 

OEA surveyed about 3,000 public school employees back to school in June. At that time, 81% were concerned about their health working in a school environment.

OEA said while some schools are returning, there is a need for distance learning, currently.

"Yes, you may have in-person learning, but if there is exposure, the health department is going to determine who those people are and who needs to be quarantine, so there is going to have to be that distance learning there," said Bishop.