teachers

Oklahoma Department of Education

Oklahoma’s State Department of Health has begun a program to provide free COVID-19 testing for school teachers across the state.

The program will offer a monthly test to teachers and school staff who want to know if they have the coronavirus.

So far, the program has administered 1,081 tests and of those nine school staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Continued diligence will be important to contain the spread of the virus as it continues to flare up around the state, state officials have said.

I catch Patricia Stamper with a Zoom meeting going in the background and a child at her knee asking for attention. Stamper works as a teacher's assistant for special education students in the Washington, D.C., public schools.

These days, her virtual classroom is at home — and so is her toddler, who has a genetic disorder called Noonan syndrome, and her kindergartner, who receives speech therapy. Her husband works outside the home at a golf course.

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Oklahoma’s coronavirus trends continue to climb in the national rankings.

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Heidi Castro of Stillwater recently made the decision to put her 18-year-long career in education on hold due to COVID-19. In her audio diary for KOSU, Heidi talks about what she misses most about working and how her family is balancing one child being back in school, while the other is distance learning. She also talks about constantly questioning whether or not she made the right decision on not renewing her contract for this school year. 

Kristie Hunter is a former public school teacher who for the past two years has made most of her money teaching children in China how to speak English online.

"I've been a stay-at-home mom with our three children, and as they were getting older, I missed the professional side of my life," said Hunter, 42, who lives in the Columbia, South Carolina area. "So this has helped me reconnect with my career and have flexibility."

New York City will delay its start of in-person classes at public schools until Sept. 21 as part of a deal with the United Federation of Teachers, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials announced Tuesday.

The union, which represents most of the city's educators, had been on the brink of voting whether to authorize a strike over safety precautions related to the coronavirus. The new agreement is aimed at addressing health concerns for educators and their students.

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More than 90 percent of Oklahoma school districts are doing some kind of in person schooling.

In a back-to-school season unusually fraught with uncertainty, two high school teachers in Albany, Ga., are going viral for their creative approach to raising students' morale.

Callie Evans and Audri Williams, teachers and cheerleading coaches at Monroe Comprehensive High School, rapped about virtual learning and the COVID-19 pandemic in a music video that has garnered thousands of likes and comments in two days.

New York City, the largest school district in the country with 1.1 million students, is also the only big-city school district planning to open its doors to students — albeit on a hybrid schedule with virtual learning — on time this fall. But at a press conference Wednesday, the president of the city's largest teachers union said the mayor needs to make major changes to meet the union's criteria for safe reopening.

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In March, schools had to suddenly switch to teaching remotely when COVID-19 was discovered in Oklahoma. The lessons they learned are central to planning for a school year where the only certainty is disruptions from the coronavirus.

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