Joy Hofmeister

Chelsea Stanfield / KOSU

Oklahoma state schools’ superintendent Joy Hofmeister believes mandating masks in classrooms is key to slowing COVID-19’s spread.


Rules surrounding masks have become more and more common in Oklahoma schools as case numbers of the coronavirus explode statewide. But those rules for masking aren’t consistent.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education again passed a motion further encouraging but not requiring school districts to mandate masks in their classrooms.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education is asking for a funding increase for the state’s public school system in next year’s legislative session. But, the budget wishlist is on that lawmakers will find difficult to meet.


Following hours of contentious debate, Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted down a proposal that would’ve mandated masks in many schools.

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Oklahoma schools could have a mask mandate when they come back into session in a few weeks.

In a conference call with school district leaders across Oklahoma, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the state’s board of education will weigh a mask mandate at their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, July 23. What exactly that mandate will look like is up in the air.

"We want to make it so that it reflects the context of where you live and the path of the coronavirus in your local districts and communities," Hofmeister said.

Following Oklahoma's first recorded COVID-19-related death of a school-aged child on Sunday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister is urging Oklahomans to wear masks in public and do their part to contain the spread of the virus.

In a meeting Thursday, Oklahoma’s State Board of Education briefly discussed a need for schools to take the lead on fighting racism.

State Superintendent for Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says she wants schools to be the first place to fight systemic racism in Oklahoma. Hofmeister addressed district leaders in a letter earlier this month, calling on schools to make sure they’re thinking of racial equality. During the meeting, she echoed the letter.

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School districts struggling financially will soon get some relief via federal CARES Act grants from Governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

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In a Thursday meeting, Oklahoma’s State Board of Education opened the door for school districts to have school on Saturdays in the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

The flexibility waiver to allow school on Saturdays, which was approved by a vote of five to two, isn’t designed to create six day school weeks in Oklahoma.

Rather, its proponents want school districts to have an option to get creative as they plan for contingencies around COVID-19.

The dissenting board members said they thought the motion could be abused and students’ weekends should be protected.