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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Public Schools will maintain its face mask requirement next semester after students return from winter break.

Dr. Sean McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent, sent a message to families of students, updating them on the school district’s face mask policy as the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, becomes an increasing point of concern.

McDaniel said the face mask requirement for students and staff will remain in place through the rest of the semester and into the new year.

“With so many unknowns regarding the new variant and with the likelihood of holiday travels and gatherings, we believe it’s best to leave our mask requirement in place until we know more,” McDaniel said. “This means that when students return from Winter Break on January 4, 2022, all students and staff will be required to continue wearing a mask, unless a previous exemption has been issued.”

Photo goes with story
Two students in class, each wearing a face mask.

School district officials will monitor the state of COVID-19 in the area and consult with health officials as students and staff return from break.

“If virus numbers remain low and other conditions allow, we hope to begin adjusting some of our COVID safety protocols as we move into the new year,” McDaniel said.

School officials ask parents and guardians to not send their children to school if they are sick. Employees are advised to not come to work if ill.

“Not only are we still facing COVID-19, but it’s also the cold and flu season,” McDaniel said. “If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms, please consider being tested and stay home until you are well.”

McDaniel reminds families that free COVID-19 testing is available every day of the school week at multiple Oklahoma City schools. Go to www.okcps.org/CovidTesting to schedule an appointment.

“As you prepare to spend time with family and/or friends over the next few weeks, please consider taking advantage of our free COVID-19 testing opportunities,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel stressed that scientific studies show that being vaccinated is one of the most effective ways for a person to be protected from COVID-19.

Masks at OKCPS
Superintendent Sean McDaniel greeting students as they return to school.

OKCPS and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department have collaborated in hosting vaccine clinics for adults and children eligible to receive the vaccine.

The COVID vaccine is approved for children age 5 and up. All adults 18 and older are eligible for both the vaccine and its booster shot.

OKCPS does not require students and staff to be vaccinated, but parents and guardians interested in getting either themselves or their children vaccinated are encouraged to visit the OKCPS website to view the school district’s vaccine clinic schedule.

They can also visit www.vaxokc.com to find a convenient clinic in the metro area,

“I am so proud of our students, staff and families for remaining vigilant in our health and safety practices which has allowed our students to remain in classrooms for in-person learning for this semester,” McDaniel said. “Let’s keep working together to keep our children, staff and community safe.”