Putnam City to institute ‘distance learning’ for start of school year

Classrooms & COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As coronavirus cases continue to rise across Oklahoma, a metro school district says it has decided to institute distance learning for the start of the school year.

On Friday, Putnam City Public Schools announced that all students will begin distance learning on the first day of school, even if they have decided to attend a ‘traditional’ learning plan.

“Students enrolled in traditional learning will begin learning in the Distance Learning format for the first nine weeks. Distance Learning will be re-evaluated at the midway point in the first nine weeks,” a statement from the district read.

“I want nothing more than to return to a sense of normalcy.  I believe the best education for students is one taught by teachers in classrooms, but last spring when hit with a pandemic, we provided our superintendent with the trust to lead our district through this difficult time.  Based on recent trends, data, and guidance by our State Board of Education, it’s clear we are not back to a sense of normal.  I continue to support our PC administration and their decisions to find the best way to deliver education to our students in the most effective and safest manner.  I hope we continue to stay agile and work towards getting our kids back in classes and back with the teachers that work so hard on their behalf,” said Jay Sherrill, Putnam City Board Vice President.

Classes are set to begin in Putnam City on Friday, Aug. 21.

When in-person classes resume, parents are being asked to take their children’s temperatures and monitor for symptoms every morning before boarding the bus or leaving for school. Daily temperature checks and symptom monitoring must be a part of every student’s morning routine at home.

Any student with a fever of 100 degrees or higher is no allowed inside the school building. Students with a fever will be able to learn remotely that day or the days needed to return to school following CDC protocol. Officials say a student will not be counted absent if all remote learning lessons are submitted on time.

If a student appears to have COVID-19 symptoms, they will be moved to an isolation room until parents can pick them up.

If a child tests positive for the virus, they may only return to class after three days with no fever and diminished respiratory symptoms, and 10 days since symptoms first appeared. Two consecutive negative tests given 24 hours apart would also indicate that a child can return to school. A child who is asymptomatic can return to class 10 days after the test.

Masks will be required for anyone entering a Putnam City facility, and they must be worn at all times while inside the building. With younger students, parents are asked to help them practice wearing a mask so they are acclimated to it when school begins.

Masks are also required while riding a school bus.

All water fountains that are touch-operated will be covered and not accessible. Instead, students are asked to bring their own pre-filled bottle each day. At this point, Putnam City officials say they are working to install more contactless water fountains that fill water bottles.

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