Schools & COVID-19: Metro school districts release back-to-school plans, here’s what you need to know

Classrooms & COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In a matter of weeks, teachers and staff members will be heading back to class to prepare for the return of students.

As coronavirus cases across the country started to rise earlier this year, school districts shut their doors and moved to online learning for the remainder of the semester.

Although COVID-19 cases have continued to rise throughout the summer months in Oklahoma, district leaders say they are working to find a balance between safety and education for students this fall.

Bethany Public Schools

District leaders say that while they have created a reopening plan, things can change depending on how circumstances progress throughout the year.

Families will have the option between traditional on-site learning or distance learning. Under the distance learning plan, parents would check out a Chromebook and teachers would send assignments to the students.

For parents who choose the traditional on-site learning option, parent should check their children for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other signs of illness before sending their children to school.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, all students sitting within six feet for 15 minutes or longer will be sent home for a 14-day quarantine.

Organizers say they will implement the following rules daily:

  • Students and staff will use hand sanitizer upon entrance and exit of each classroom.
  • Staff will take the temperature of all students as they enter the schools. Staff will take their temperature when they sign in each day.
  • Masks are required for all students, staff and volunteers while inside school facilities.

Officials say masks with multiple layered cloth will be required for all students and staff members. If a student doesn’t have a mask, the school will provide one. If you choose to wear a neck gaiter, it must have multiple layers to meet the criteria.

The only exception for wearing a mask in all Bethany Public School buildings is a note from a physician on physician letterhead.

Bethany Public Schools will begin class on Aug. 20.

Deer Creek Public Schools

For the 2020-2021 school year, each family will be able to choose between ‘virtual,’ ‘traditional- remote learning’, or ‘blended’ formats for the year. Unless otherwise specified, each enrolled student will participate in ‘traditional-remote learning.’

Under the ‘traditional – remote learning’ plan, officials say that Deer Creek will conduct normal school operations when there are a low number of COVID-19 cases in the community. The district will also activate remote learning for all students when there is a medium to high risk of community spread.

Parents are asked to take the temperatures of students on a daily basis to make sure they are healthy. No student with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher without medicine will be allowed in any Deer Creek facility.

“It is imperative for the health and safety of all students and staff that students remotely learn on days they have a fever or any symptoms of illness. Remote learning will not count against attendance if the student completes their online lessons in the allotted time frame,” the district said.

On Tuesday, district officials announced that all students and staff will be required to wear face coverings in all Deer Creek school buildings and on school buses.

One Buff/Gator will be provided by the Deer Creek Schools Foundation for every student and staff member.

Right now, the district is reviewing possible calendar changes for the 2020-2021 school year. Officials say they are reviewing a possible delay of the first day of school from Aug. 13 to Aug. 19. The school board still needs to vote and approve the change.

Edmond Public Schools

The Edmond Public School District announced several changes for the upcoming school year in order to better protect students and staff members.

Students will be able to choose from several different learning options for the 2020-2021 school year including ‘blended A/B schedule,’ ‘canvas,’ ‘hybrid schedule,’ ‘remote learning,’ ‘traditional school,’ or ‘virtual learning.’

Masks or face shields will be required for all staff members and for middle and high school students. Masks are highly recommended for all students, but will not be required for elementary school students.

Also, traditional water fountains will be disconnected, and students and staff members are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles. The water bottle filling stations will still be connected.

Parents are being asked to monitor their children’s health each day before they leave home. Children should stay home if they have chills, cough, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Schools will also be provided touchless forehead thermometers so that students’ temperatures can be taken at the start of each school day.

If a student has a temperature over 100 degrees, they will be isolated and sent home immediately.

“For the school year of 2020-2021, any COVID-19 related absences will be considered ‘a significant medical condition’ and be exempted from the count attributed toward a child’s record under the chronic absenteeism classification. Medical documentation must be provided to substantiate the absence as COVID related,” the district posted.

District officials say they are working to make sure that students can return to school on Aug. 13. However, they are also coming up with plans if remote learning needs to be reinstated for all students.

El Reno Public Schools

Officials with the El Reno Public School District say they have several plans in place in case changes need to be made due to ongoing spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The district says it has a ‘traditional campus instructional plan’ ready for the start of the school year. If necessary, El Reno Public Schools can move to the ‘blended learning instructional day’ to reduce the number of students in the building at one time. If a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases occurs, the district can then move to a ‘remote/distance learning plan.’

Families will only have option to take part in the ‘traditional campus instructional plan’ or a ‘virtual ER’ option.

At this time, El Reno Public Schools is planning to return to in-person classes on Aug. 13 with several requirements to protect the health and safety of students and staff.

When the school year begins, school appropriate face coverings will be required for all students and staff, and everyone is asked to social distance when possible. Students will also be required to wear a mask while riding the school bus.

Families and students are asked to check their temperature each morning before leaving for school. Anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees should remain at home and be monitored for symptoms. Also, students and staff will have their temperatures checked throughout the day. Anyone whose temperature is over 100 degrees will be required to return home.

Water fountains will be turned off and students will be encouraged to bring their own individual non-breakable water bottles to school with them.

Guthrie Public Schools

The Guthrie Public School District says it understands the importance of in-person instruction for students.

“We realize a need may arise when we have to close a classroom, school, or the entire district temporarily due to a rise in confirmed cases of COVID‐19. If we must transition from in person instruction to distance learning overnight, we want to assure parents that our teachers and students are equipped with the resources and knowledge to conduct and participate in distance learning,” the district posted.

Students who are in at least the sixth grade will have the choice to attend ‘BLUEJAY ACADEMY’ to receive online instruction.

When school begins on Aug. 20, officials say there will be several changes to the traditional school day.

District leader say there will be more assigned seating for students and masks are strongly encouraged when social distancing of six feet or more isn’t possible.

Also, parents will be required to screen for a temperature or COVID-19 symptoms. If a student or staff member exhibits a fever of 100 degrees or more, they will be instantly isolated and sent home.

If a student is sent home and they test negative for COVID-19, they can return to physical school after three days of being fever free with no fever reducing medication. If they test positive, a student will become a distance learning until they can return to school.

Any visitors to a school will be required to wear a mask at all times while on campus.

Mid-Del Public Schools

Students in the Mid-Del Public School District will have the choice between traditional on-site schools or a virtual academy.

Even if students choose to attend traditional on-site classes, the district will be able to move to a remote learning plan if schools need to close due to COVID-19 cases.

Each morning, families are asked to take the temperature of students before they arrive at school. If the student has a fever of 100.4 or greater, they should stay at home and monitor for additional symptoms for a minimum of 72 hours.

If a student becomes sick at school, they will be isolated and immediately sent home.

The district will require students and staff to wear a face covering during the school day and while on the school bus. Officials say all students and staff will be provided a neck gaiter at the start of school.

While it will be difficult to maintain distance between students in schools, each site will work to the best of their ability to provide distance between students in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, gyms, buses, and common areas.

The Mid-Del Public Schools Foundation provided water bottle filling stations for all of our school sites. Any remaining traditional “water coolers” will not be in service as a form of prevention. Students and staff are encouraged to bring water bottles to remain hydrated throughout the day.

The first day of class is scheduled for Aug. 14.

Moore Public Schools

Moore Public Schools has two options for students enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year. Students can choose whether they want to take part in the ‘Traditional Classroom Setting’ or ‘Virtual/Online Education.’

District officials say if they encounter situations where closures are necessary, they will temporarily move to a ‘Distance Learning’ option for the students enrolled in the ‘Traditional Classroom Setting.’

Moore school options

At this time, Moore’s school calendar will remain the same and students are to report back to school on Thursday, Aug. 13.

All students and staff should take their temperatures on a daily basis at home prior to arriving at school. Not student or staff with a fever of 100 degrees or higher may enter any Moore Public Schools facility.

If a student or staff has a fever at school, they must go home immediately. They cannot return to school until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications.

Moore COVID-19 plans

Officials updated the policy to require face masks for all students during class and transportation. Also, face masks must not include messages or images that distract for the learning environment.

Students are also asked to bring their own water bottles that they can refill. Standard water fountains will not be available.

Moore has also started installing ionization systems in schools that will filter and kill bacteria, viruses, and mold pathogens.

Mustang Public Schools

Mustang Public Schools has released the ‘Mustang’s Options for Reaching Students & Educating Youth’ program.

Students will have the option to participate in the traditional teaching model or enroll in Mustang Virtual Academy. Students in the ninth through 12th grade will also have the option of taking part in a ‘Blended Learning Option.’

All district staff and students in the fifth through 12th grade will be required to wear a mask or face covering. Younger students will be strongly encouraged to wear masks.

Staff and families will be required to screen for COVID-19 symptoms each day before reporting to school.

School will begin on Aug. 24.

Norman Public Schools

Students in the Norman Public School District will be able to choose between the ‘traditional/remote option,’ a ‘blended option,’ or a ‘virtual learning option.’

Under the traditional option, students receive in-person instruction at school buildings with enhanced health and safety measures in place. Also, eight days of remote instruction are built in so students and teachers can practice remote learning in case it becomes necessary.

The blended option allows students to participate in some in-person classes and some online classes. Under the virtual learning option, all classes are virtual and students have 18 weeks to complete the self-paced courses.

“It is important to understand that information surrounding COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve. We will continue to take a measured, methodical and flexible approach to ensure we can adapt to situations and new scenarios as they arise. Simply put, our plan almost certainly will change as the school year progresses and the situation continues to unfold. In the event it becomes necessary, we will activate remote learning for our traditional and blended students using Canvas and Seesaw with NPS teachers,” Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino wrote.

Families are expected to screen children for fever or other symptoms associated with COVID-19 prior to students’ arrival at school each day. Also, all students will participate in wellness screenings at school twice a day.

Individuals with a temperature over 100.4 degrees will not be permitted at school.

Face coverings or shields will be required in school with some flexibility and reasonable accommodations for younger students or specific situations. Students and staff are encouraged to bring their own face coverings, otherwise one will be provided.

Face masks must not include messages or images that distract from the learning environment. Students will be required to follow face covering and social distancing rules set out by teachers, coaches, or sponsors during physical education classes, athletics, and fine arts activities.

Students are also encouraged to use refillable water bottles and use the schools’ bottle-filling stations.

The first day of school is set for Aug. 17. To avoid congestion, parents and guests will not be permitted inside the school.

Oklahoma City Public Schools

The metro’s largest school district recently announced that students will be able to enjoy summer break a little bit longer.

The Oklahoma City Public School Board voted to delay the start of the school year from Aug. 10 to Aug. 31.

Also, Oklahoma City Public School classes will be completely online for at least the first nine weeks.

“We cannot in good conscience advocate for a traditional return to school. The safest way to educate, as identified by the CDC, is virtually, so we would propose starting the school year virtually for at least the first nine week. “ said OKCPS Deputy Superintendent Jason Brown.

When students do head back to school, families will have two options for the 2020-2021 school year. Students can choose between the traditional learning plan or a virtual learning plan.

Under the traditional learning plan, all courses will be at a school site. If the number of COVID-19 cases rises to the point that the state limits the number of people allowed in a building, the district is preparing for a mix of face-to-face traditional learning and at-home instruction.

Each day, students should take their temperature and make sure they don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Face coverings are required for all staff and visitors, and masks are available to and encouraged for all students.

Putnam City Public Schools

Putnam City Public Schools released its ‘Return To Learn’ plan, which provides families the option of sending their kids to class or participating in virtual classes from home.

Even students enrolled in the traditional plan may transition to distance learning if necessary.

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.

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.

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

Yukon Public Schools

Students at Yukon Public Schools will be able to choose between a traditional school setting or an online virtual school setting. High school students can also apply for a blended school setting, meaning they will have a combination of in-person and online educational options.

If the district is forced to close, schools will transition to a ‘continuous learning plan,’ which focuses on providing teacher-led instruction to support student learning in the home setting.

Student athletes must pursue either a traditional or blended learning environment in order to qualify for athletic competitions.

Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all students and staff members, and the district says it will work to make sure students maintain a social distance from others as much as possible.

Upon entering the school, staff and visitors will have their temperature screened and will be asked a list of screen questions provided by the CDC. Students will also be screened.

If a student appears to have symptoms of COVID-19, they will move to an isolation room until a guardian picks them up.

The first day of school is set for Aug. 20.

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