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StateImpact is again tracking school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic

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More than 300 school districts have pivoted at least one site to distance learning because of the coronavirus this semester — a rate of closures so far unseen during the pandemic.

Thousands of students are out of the classroom and back on the couch because of COVID-19. Many have contracted or been exposed to it. More teachers are calling out sick than at any point during the pandemic.

It all adds up to more than 50% of Oklahoma public school districts pivoting to distance learning or just plain closing because of the virus. The figure comes from StateImpact’s project tracking school closures in Oklahoma.

There is a silver lining, though. The closures are scheduled to be shorter than they have been in the past, thanks to shorter quarantine and isolation times for people exposed and infected with the virus.

Many schools closed for a few days and have already returned to in-person learning.

StateImpact is again tracking school closures due to the virus. If you know of a closure or pivot to distance learning not on the list below, contact reporter Robby Korth at robby@stateimpactoklahoma.org.

ORIGINAL POST: January 10, 2022

Across Oklahoma, dozens of schools have suspended in-person learning because of the coronavirus. The Omicron variant is making it hard for teachers to stay in classrooms.

Updated CDC guidance means many students and teachers are able to come back to classrooms more quickly after catching COVID-19.

But still, with classes resuming last week, the coronavirus has spread in many schools.

Oklahoma City Public Schools has been hit particularly hard. The district has roughly 3,000 students out of school because they tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed.

Additionally, more than 300 staff members are out, meaning there aren’t enough teachers.

At least four sites have pivoted to distance learning, and Superintendent Sean McDaniel says more will likely join those schools in the coming days, too.

“While we want all our kids in the schoolhouse all the time, we know that there are circumstances that arise that prevent that from happening,” McDaniel said.

OKCPS is hardly alone in its fight with the coronavirus. Districts in every corner of the state have had to move classes online because of COVID-19.

Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
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