NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The Norman School District Board of Education met in a special meeting Monday and the public put their comments in the open after Sunday’s announcement to start school virtually.
The board remained steadfast in their meeting Monday to stay with all-virtual schooling to start the year. They also pushed the start date back to Aug. 24.
“At the end of the day we want to get back to in person instructions,” said Norman Supt. Nick Migliorino. “But right now, the best bet is for us to begin virtual.”
A public comment section was on the agenda for the special meeting.
The public showed up to make their voices heard on the decision for the first time.
“We need to return to school there’s a way to do this safely,” said a Norman resident at the podium during the public comments section.
“Whether or not the people here in this crowd want to believe COVID is killing people and impacting people it is,” said another Norman resident at the podium during the comments section.
Cleveland County has the third highest amount of cases in the state with 2,725. They also have 49 deaths and 2,151 recoveries.
The decision to start virtual split some Norman residents and teachers down the middle.
“I just think the majority of children would be more safe in school,” said Sari Coggburn, a kindergarten teacher in the Norman school district. “I know that I can do all that I can do to keep my students safe in my classroom.”
“Any measures we can take to keep the risk low for our family we’ll take it,” said Helen Grant, a resident with a daughter in Norman public schools.
Helen Grant said she has a daughter in high school at Norman North. With her husband immunocompromised, she said she’s worried her daughter would bring home the virus if they were in the classrooms.
“The thought of spending a month in the ICU and going bankrupt is not cool,” she said.
However, for Norman resident Kent Long, it’s a different story when it comes to his daughter with special needs.
“Well my daughter can’t do virtual school… she’s had seizures since she was little,” Long said holding back tears. “Doesn’t walk or talk yet.”
According to Long, school in the classroom is essential for his daughter.
“You can tell from body language how much she enjoys being around the other kids and interaction with the teachers,” he said.
As for a student from Norman High School that we talked to, she’s still wary as the school year start date is about three weeks away.
“I think that virtual learning right now is really important because, essentially if we’re not being safe then what we’re learning isn’t as important,” said Flora Ellis, an incoming senior at Norman High School.
Norman’s Superintendent Nick Migliorino said the board is keeping up with medical professionals and may change their plan. It just depends on the changes in COVID-19 statistics in the state, Cleveland County and in Norman.
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