OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma continues to rise due to the omicron variant, so does the list of schools moving to remote learning.
Many students across the Oklahoma City metro will be in virtual classrooms over the next several school days.
“We’re doing our best to try to keep kids in school if we can,” said Oklahoma City-County Health Department Deputy Chief Executive Officer Phil Maytubby. “It’s just becoming almost an impossibility with the transmissibility of omicron. In a lot of cases, they don’t have options because they don’t have any teachers. I mean, the teachers are out. You’ve got to have teachers to teach.”
He reports about 95 percent of new COVID cases have been the omicron variant. He describes the variant as the most contagious version of COVID-19 since the pandemic started.
Oklahoma City Public Schools, Putnam City Public Schools, Yukon Public Schools, Norman Public Schools, and Mid-Del Public Schools are among the districts transitioning to virtual learning for the rest of this week, with many of them announcing they’ll return to in-person learning on Tuesday.
But for how long will classes be remote?
“This is not going to be like it was two years ago where they came home from spring break and then didn’t go back to school for the remainder of the year,” said Dr. Melinda Cail. “This is probably going to be days, and there may be other times through the end of this school year where they have to take a few days of a break so that these active cases can run their course.”
Integris Health’s Director of Behavioral Health Allie Friesen advises parents and kids to have as much consistency as possible in these turbulent times.
“Making sure that there’s structure, there’s schedules and there’s predictability, because in this world where literally the ground is moving beneath us, it’s almost impossible to move forward with any confidence, with predictability at all,” she said.
She encourages families to leverage the experience for important life lessons.
“Really using it as a lesson to develop that resilience, which is what I can say probably all parents want for their kids is developing that resilience to overcome those unexpected barriers,” she said.
KFOR asked Maytubby when the omicron variant will peak. He predicts sometime between January 19th and early February.