Oklahoma City Public Schools officials said the plan to bring the rest of the students back next week will go forward as planned.
The return has teachers concerned for their safety as well as the safety of their students and families.
“My question is: If we have the option to reduce suffering and take life-saving measures, why is that decision up for debate?” OKCPS secondary teacher Meagan Kenner said.
Along with other teachers, Kenner wrote a letter to the school board and district leaders asking that they halt the return to school next week.
Kenner said they are making the request due to a number of factors like wanting to know where the school receives the data they use to make the decision to move forward.
One of the top concerns for teachers is the record number of COVID-19 cases Oklahoma has seen this week.
“This isn’t a small group,” Kenner said. “This is a group of educators across the district and school sites.”
The district said they feel ready to bring children back in-person. Officials said since Oklahoma County is still in the Orange Level Two phase, which recommends distance learning or a hybrid schedule, they are planning to resume in-person learning.
Students will all learn virtually on Monday. Over the rest of the week, an ‘A’ group will attend school on Tuesday and Thursday while a ‘B’ group will attend school on Wednesday and Friday.
OKCPS superintendent Sean McDaniel told families Friday that since the county will fluctuate from Orange Level One and Two for the foreseeable future, there are no plans to make drastic instructional changes unless the county moves into the Red Alert Level.
“I am scared for my students who live with elderly family members,” Kenner said. “I am worried for myself and my partner who is immunocompromised.”
Kenner said she is also worried that the decision to bring students back will affect how they learn. She said they were just hitting their stride with distance learning. Now, they will have to take time to go over in-person protocols and procedures.
An OKCPS board meeting is scheduled for Monday where district officials said the Return to Learn Plan will be discussed.