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Oklahoma City, Tulsa School Districts Lay Out Their Plans For Coming Back In Person

Carnegie Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla.

The youngest kids will come back first.

In separate plans laid out to their respective school boards Monday night, superintendents for Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools announced plans to bring students back for in person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Oklahoma City Superintendent Sean McDaniel had previously announced plans to start October 19 with the youngest students.

Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist told the district’s school board a similar strategy in that city could start in what is the first plan for the district that involves in person learning.

Case growth in communities or outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools could alter what each intends to do.

But if current trends continue, Oklahoma City will bring back its pre-k and kindergarten students on October 19 on a rotating basis and Tulsa will bring back those students in a similar manner on November 9. Both will phase in older students until everyone is in school on a rotating basis.

Conditions could lead to scale back, though. If cases increase in Oklahoma County, McDaniel said there’s a plan to push back to November 9 to start the in-person school phase-in. In Tulsa, Gist said that if conditions worsen, distance learning will probably continue.

Schools across the state have moved forward with plans to provide at least some in person instruction, with less than 10% of schools starting the year virtually, according to the State Department of Education.

The virus has exploded in Oklahoma’s school age population. According to Oklahoma Watch, since September the state has reported at least 100 cases of COVID-19 in kids ages 5-17.

There will likely be cases of COVID-19 in Tulsa and Oklahoma City Public Schools. Extracurricular activities in both have already been temporarily halted by COVID-19’s spread and the virus has touched more than half of Oklahoma’s school districts since the year began with many in person classes in August.

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