Stillwater Public Schools district approved a return to the classroom plan Thursday night during a board meeting.
Payne County recently dipped into the COVID red zone for having a large amount of positive cases. Per the Oklahoma State Department of Education guidelines, that means distance learning is recommended.
Parents protested outside the meeting Thursday night and said they want a clear path forward, with more information about what goes into the decision-making process.
Parents added there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the district because plans change week by week.
SPS announced a distance learning plan close to a week ago. They also regularly updated their plans for the school week on the Facebook page.
Here is the plan they released Thursday:
“Stillwater Board of Education voted to approve revised safety protocols. These plans will provide greater consistency in instruction, moving us to an A/B schedule for four weeks on September 28, assuming Stillwater remains at or below the Orange 2 level of the Covid Alert System. The safety protocols will adjust on October 25, provided it’s safe to do so.
During the week of September 21-25, district staff will prepare details for the implementation of our A/B schedule, including, transportation, meal service, 504s & Individualized Education Plans, and athletics & extracurriculars. Additional information will be released as soon as it is available.”
SPS board members said they believe by transitioning some students back to a block schedule, they can create more consistency for parents, teachers and students.
The district announced it makes decisions based on the positivity rate in the community and have polled teachers and parents to get their input too.
Some parents told News 9 that Oklahoma State University unfairly impacts their numbers, and the lack of a traditional education and cancellation of extracurricular activities has hurt their kids.
Even with the approval of a COVID-19 district plan, some have their reservations.
“I am great with, if you want to open up, open up, but let us know so we know...what you are basing the numbers off of,” said Dennis Marshall, a parent.
“I feel like there has been a lack of leadership and consistency. I feel like there is a lot of knee-jerk reacting,” said Amber Gray, another parent.
Board members said they are trying to make decisions based on safety.
Two members voted against the plan.
“I am still worried about the high school. Parents are worried, kids are stressed,” said Camille Deyoung, Ward 1.
The school board reminded parents that should they return to red, most students would return to distance learning.