Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel confirmed a district-wide mask requirement Friday morning. It will go into effect Monday, Aug. 16.
In a letter posted to the district's website, Dr. McDaniel said the decision will require face coverings "to be worn on school property, in school vehicles, and at school-sponsored events regardless of your vaccination status."
While state Senate Bill 658 prohibits a district's school board from implementing a mask requirement, it does not outlaw a district superintendent from implementing a requirement. Senate Bill 658 went into effect on July 1.
News 9 talked to OKCPS school board Vice Chair Mark Mann on Thursday. Mann did not confirm the requirement at the time but said the board would back Dr. McDaniel.
Dr. McDaniel said OKCPS went from single-digit active COVID-19 cases (three children, one adult) to triple digits (88 children, 31 adults) over the course of the first three days of classes.
The superintendent also said that the district is planning to provide vaccination clinics at all middle and high schools in addition to a partnership with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department to provide vaccines to staff members, students and their families.
During a Friday morning press conference, Dr. McDaniel said district employees can earn $1,000 stipends to those who can provide proof of vaccination status by Nov. 15.
The requirement has exemption guidelines which can include religious, health or personal reasons. Those who seek an exemption have to fill out a formal request with the district.
Governor Kevin Stitt formally responded to the new mask requirements at OKCPS and Santa Fe Charter Schools on Friday morning.
“I appreciate that school districts like Santa Fe Charter Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools are respecting parents’ rights to decide what is best for the health of their children and opt out of mask requirements if they choose," Gov. Stitt said in a statement.
News 9's Augusta McDonnell will have a complete wrap-up today on News 9 at 4 p.m.