OKCPS allows in-person learning to start Tuesday; teachers, parents beg the board to reconsider

Classrooms & COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On the night before in-person school returns for Oklahoma City Public Schools, some parents and teachers say they’re terrified of the spread of COVID-19, but despite protests, the district confirms it’s sticking to the original plan.

“How are they going to teach when they are just trying to make sure the children are safe?” Stephanie Burghart said. “It’s terrifying to me as a parent to be sending my teenage son back to high school this week.”

Before Monday’s school board meeting, a group gathered outside to protest going back to in-person learning. 

“I don’t think it’s the right time to come back at all,” OKCPS teacher Caitlyn Brekke said.

Some teachers took the podium one by one to air their concerns. 

“I do not want to attend a funeral of a kid, their parent, or a colleague,” one teacher said inside the meeting.

High school German teacher, Taylor McKenzie, tells KFOR he didn’t feel safe coming to Monday night’s meeting. 

“It’s just going to be a matter of staying afloat in my opinion,” German teacher Taylor McKenzie said. “Until l leave my house tomorrow, in my head the district is going to make the right decision to pull the plug on this plan.”

However, at the end of Monday night’s meeting Superintendent of OKCPS Dr. Sean McDaniel confirmed he’s confident to continue with their plan in place. 

“There is weight applied to decision making,” Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel said. “We believe the best place for kids is in a schoolhouse.”

According to Dr. McDaniel, each class size will be cut in half with an A/B block schedule. 

The district also tells KFOR it sent PPE equipment to each teacher employee and will restock when needed. 

However, tensions were high Monday night when one board member decided to walk out in frustration.

Charles Henry voiced over and over now is not the right time to send back students. 

“It’s just not the safest place for either of us to be,” Brekke said. 

According to State Department of Education, Oklahoma County is in the Orange – Level 2 Zone, which encourages districts to continue distance learning but allows in-person block scheduling. 

Pre-K and Kindergarten students started in-person one week ago for OKCPS. 

As of Monday night, nine Kindergarten students and two adults who were asked to isolate after being designated as close contact to a staff member.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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