UPDATE: Oklahoma City Public Schools administrators are extending virtual learning to Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Administrators announced earlier this week that all OKCPS schools were shifting to virtual learning and would return to in-person learning on Tuesday.
However, school officials issued a news release Friday announcing students will remain in virtual learning Tuesday.
Schools and district offices are closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Public Schools is moving all schools within the district to virtual learning amid rising teacher, staff absences.
Students throughout the district will not return to in-person learning until Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Increasing numbers of teachers, staff members and students have been absent due to the COVID-19 surge caused by the Omicron variant.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see a significant number of our teachers, instructional and support staff and students out across the district due to illness or other circumstances. Even after working to reassign staff at all levels across the district, we have determined that we can no longer adequately sustain a safe and meaningful learning environment for our students. This is a manpower issue, and we are simply out of options,” Superintendent Sean McDaniel said. “Although we continue to believe that being in the schoolhouse is the best place for kids, OKCPS is left with no other choice but to make the difficult decision to shift our entire district to virtual asynchronous learning for the remainder of this week.”
The districtwide move comes after the district transitioned several schools last week and this week from in-person learning to virtual.
McDaniel previously said that a districtwide shift to virtual would be the last option.
“A shift to remote learning — even for a short amount of time — is always our last resort,” McDaniel said last week. “As our COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, I want to take this opportunity to once again reassure you that I do not have plans to shift our entire district into a virtual learning environment unless or until it becomes absolutely necessary. We know our students learn best when they are together in the classroom, and OKCPS will do everything in our power to make this possible.”
Students will log into Canvas to complete lessons and assignments.
Teachers can provide reading materials, videos, notes, assignments, activities, assessments or allow indepent work time.
“We believe this will allow our families as much flexibility as possible as students can log in and complete the daily assignments in a self-paced manner at any time during the day or evening,” McDaniel said.
Students must log in and complete their assignments each day to be counted present.
All school district staff who are not off work or in quarantine will report to campus each day during normal school hours.
“If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine as a close contact but are asymptomatic and can perform your job duties, you will be able to work remotely from home during your isolation or quarantine period,” McDaniel said. “If you are at home due to illness or have other obligations that prevent you from working, please take the appropriate leave and work with your colleagues to ensure that your students are taken care of.”
Families can call the OKCPS Help Desk at (405) 587-HELP (4357) from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to receive assistance if their student is experiencing device or connectivity issues.
Elementary families are encouraged to log in for a short meeting with their child’s teacher each day between 8:20-9 a.m. to discuss the day’s expectations and so the teacher can answer questions.
Curbside meal service, including breakfast and lunch, will be provided at no cost to students at all OKCPS schools from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.
Students will continue participating in activities and athletic events, which will follow COVID-19 protocols.