The metro’s largest school district will welcome some students and teachers back into the classroom this week.
Oklahoma City Public Schools said they will take the necessary precautions to try and keep everyone as safe as possible, even as COVID-19 cases continue to climb statewide.
School officials said Pre-K through fourth grade students will return to the classroom Tuesday, starting on an A/B schedule. They asked everyone to wear a mask and to social distance.
OKCPS will implement a six-point safety plan in order to keep students and teachers safe. The plan includes an active ionization system in every classroom, which the district says has a 99 percent kill rate for the COVID-19 virus and can refresh the air every 12 minutes.
This is part of what many schools have done to get students back in the classroom.
“Done a great job of taking precautions with social distancing, masking,” Oklahoma State School Boards Association executive director Shawn Hime said. “School districts have been doing almost all of the contact tracing and those type of things.”
OKCPS will also have rapid COVID-19 testing available for staff and their families.
Though many say it’s helpful for students to be back in the classroom, OU Health’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler notes the state’s high rate of cases nationwide.
“Oklahoma currently ranks third in the nation in respect to the number of new cases per capita in the country, following only Arizona and California,” Dr. Bratzler said.
“…From the beginning, we have said OKCPS would only bring our students back to the classroom when it was safe,” OKCPS superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel said, in part. “But this doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. Everyone must continue with our safety and hygiene practices.”
Though teachers are in phase two of the vaccine’s rollout plan, the state department of health said those under the age of 65 are not yet qualified to receive their shot.
OKCPS officials said fifth through twelfth graders will continue their remote learning schedule for now but are hopeful to bring them back to the classroom on Feb. 1.