OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Kids around the metro had their first day back to school – outside of the classroom.
Oklahoma City Public Schools rolled out their new distance learning curriculum for this first week.
Parents lined up at Prairie Queen Elementary Monday morning to pick up lunch, and their instruction packets for the week.
They’re handed out by grade level, every Monday.
“Every Monday, we will release all the instruction for that week. If they can’t get here Monday, we’ll have it again on Tuesday and so on through the week,” said superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel.
One parent talked to KFOR about how necessary this program is for his family.
“My kids really wouldn’t be eating that much right now unless this was here,” said father of three, Carlos Hartness.
It’s a feeling so many Oklahomans are familiar with right now.
“Times are hard, can’t work cause of all the child care, just trying to make it day by day,” said Hartness. “It feels like I’m failing as a parent, but you know, I have to do what I have to do.”
Hartness isn’t alone.
A long line of cars waited for meals and packets on Monday.
“We know that there are a lot of kids throughout the district, throughout our city, that do not have a device or internet access. So, we know that a population of those kids, in the thousands, will need to pick up hard copies,” said McDaniel.
Families will have access to course work online, or they can get the paper packets filled with the week’s curriculum.
Nothing inside will get graded, and students will not have to turn anything back in.
“We’re not introducing new concepts, fourth quarter concepts, this is simply review and enrichment from the first three quarters,”said McDaniel.
Staff says the packets were prepped safely.
Everyone who has touched them since they left the printer were wearing masks and gloves.
Even without grading, students will talk with their teachers through office hours and phone calls.
“There will be amount of feedback going back and forth, just not grading,” said McDaniel.
He emphasized the district is trying to avoid that added stress on their families.
OKCPS staff met for weeks to get all of this ready.
One of the biggest challenges, was getting a hold of all families that don’t have internet access.
“We have relied on emergency contacts. We have called second cousins, third cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents that live out of state to try and get a working number. For the most part we’ve gotten about 95% of the families in contact” said Prairie Queen Principal Lisa West.
They also addressed families that may not be able to get to the packet pick-ups.
“We’re working in conjunction with community partners as we identify families where it’s a challenge to get here,” said McDaniel.
He said some volunteers have even offered to take the food and packets to those families.
With just one day of teaching down, parents say it’s definitely an adjustment.
“Trying to get the kids to focus is their main problem, you know, they’re at home not used to the environment,” said Hartness.
He adds that he has hope, and this new way of living will work.
“Oklahoma strong, baby!” he said.
McDaniel says they will make adjustments to the new system after hearing feedback this week.
He also added if you’re working online, you can still pick up a hard copy if you prefer that method as well.
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