First Group Of Students Return To OKCPS Classroom After 7 Months

Tuesday, October 20th 2020, 4:30 pm
By: Ashley Holden

The first group of Oklahoma City's Pre-K and kindergartners are back inside their classrooms for the first time in seven months. 

The district is using a new staggered A/B schedule with everyone learning virtually on Monday, half the students going to class on Tuesday and Thursday and the other half on Wednesday and Friday. 

Administrators said they are implementing this schedule with Pre-K and Kindergarteners because its essential the young students learn the foundational lessons taught in these classrooms. 

The district's superintendent, Sean McDaniel, and other administrators were at Hawthorne Elementary the first morning to welcome students back into the classroom and answer questions.  

"I couldn't sleep last night this a most exciting day," Asst. Supt. of Elementary Education for OKCPS Jamie Polk.

Along with those first day jitters comes anxiety. McDaniel said he is well aware people and teachers are nervous.

"Almost across the board unanimously teachers are excited to have kids back, because that's where kids belong," said McDaniel. "But with that comes levels of I'm anxious, I'm afraid [and] I don't agree with the direction."

The superintendent said they have been working to ease concern by releasing as much information as possible. 

"What we tried to do is stick to process, be flexible and then inform," said McDaniel. 

Lilian Bonilla has two kids at Hawthorne Elementary, and despite nerves, she thinks the new staggered schedule will be best for the kids.

"Its better than just being at home and not able to react with other little kids," said Bonilla. 

The superintendent said they chose this new learning model after talking and hearing from neighboring districts. McDaniel said staff will be cleaning constantly, but there will be challenges. He stressed that everyone from parents to staff need to do their part.

"What we're committing to is doing everything we can to keep people safe, and we believe we have taken significant strides to do that," said McDaniel.

The rest of the district is scheduled to start on Nov. 9 using the same staggered schedule. Parents with students in grades 1st through 12th should receive their A/B assignments after fall break.