PUTNAM CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Putnam City Schools’ Return to Learn plan has been revised to include new language that says employees are expected to wear face masks when around individuals who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Dr. Fred Rhodes, Superintendent of Putnam City Schools, issued the following statement to parents and guardians:
“Yesterday the District revised the Return to Learn plan. It includes updated language regarding masks. It is now an expectation in school that masks be worn at all times when in the presence of the most vulnerable, especially for those whom the COVID vaccine is not yet available and those who cannot or have not been vaccinated.
We are asking our employees to help protect those entrusted into our care and for students to help protect each other. We are all in this together and our goal is to keep students in school with their teachers.
Thank you for all that you do.”DR. FRED RHODES, SUPERINTENDENT, PUTNAM CITY SCHOOLS
Kathleen Kennedy, with the Center for Communication Engagement, said the revision to the Return to Learn plan does not require school employees to wear face masks.
“It is an expectation of our employees that they wear a mask. It is not a requirement nor is it a mandate,” Kennedy said.
Senate Bill 658, signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 28, prohibits school boards from requiring staff and students to wear face masks. However, Oklahoma City Public Schools implemented a face mask requirement. Dr. Sean McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent, said the policy doesn’t violate state law because he implemented it, not the school board.
Also, the Oklahoma State Medical Association and a group of parents are challenging the law in Oklahoma County District Court, petitioning the court to find it as being in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction on the law until the court reaches its decision on its constitutionality.