Norman Middle Schools Goes Virtual To Allow Teachers To Test For COVID-19

Monday, October 5th 2020, 5:17 pm
By: Hunter McKee

A Norman middle school moved its students to distance learning Monday after several teachers expressed COVID-19 concerns. 

According to a letter from Irving Middle School, the building is closed Monday due to the amount of teachers who have called in sick to get tested for COVID-19.

A letter from the school to parents said "as parents and staff were informed Friday evening, an individual at the school tested positive for COVID-19 last week." 

Officials with the district said Irving teachers were not identified as close contacts to the positive case at the school. However, some teachers said it's still concerning.

“We have several faculty members that feel as if they have been exposed,” said Renee Jerden, Irving Middle School teacher. “They are worried about going into the school building and exposing more students and other faculty members.”

The district released the following statement:

"We recognize that many had concerns, which is why we worked to alleviate their anxiety and transition to remote learning Monday so they could be tested for the virus."

Officials with Norman Public Schools said this allows them to receive a test Monday without having to take their own leave. While in-person learning is best for educational purposes, safety comes first, Jerden said.

“We as teachers are charged with keeping our kids safe,” said Jerden. “Just our very presence in the building is a silent ascent to the situation.”

A separate letter sent to the Irving faculty and staff said this pattern began on or around Saturday and within 30 minutes, 20 Irving faculty or staff entered a sick leave request.

“On the other side of that, the teachers who are not trying to abuse their sick leave now feel as if they are pressured to go back into the building,” said Jerden.

The district said the building is set to reopen for in-person learning on Tuesday.