OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted Thursday to allow school districts to use instruction time on Saturdays towards their yearly 180-day requirement.
Some of Oklahoma’s parents aren’t on board with the idea.
“No way, no way, five days is enough,” said one Edmond parent and bus driver, Donald Biglow.
“I thought it was a joke to be honest,” said another parent, Erica Tillman.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says using Saturdays as an instruction day should not be “plan A” for districts or used as a first resort. She also says it’s not being forced on anyone.
“None of this happens unless the community wants it,” said Hofmeister.
Hofmeister says allowing schools the option of using Saturdays as an instruction day will give them the flexibility in their calendar, needed if a school experiences a COVID-19 outbreak.
“There could be a need for them if there is an outbreak in their community to not have students in class all day or in rotating days. This would provide for them an additional day,” said Hofmeister.
The additional days are also meant for students who are at most risk for contracting COVID-19.
“We’re dealing with families who may not want to go to school at a time where there is a lot of population. Giving them an opportunity to use Saturday if that school wants that for a sensitive or medically fragile student, it provides an opportunity,” said Hofmeister.
Some board members still urge school districts to use technology instead of weekends.
“This has been a very stressful time for our students, for our staff, for everyone involved. Is this in the best interest of the students?” said Board member Estela Hernandez.
KFOR reached out to multiple school districts for their plans moving forward with the 2020-2021 calendar year, but most say it’s too soon to make any formal plans.
Superintendent Hofmeister tells KFOR she knows of no districts that are currently planning on implementing any sort of Saturday school schedule.