Oklahoma schools struggling with absences from staff, students

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MUSTANG, Okla. (KFOR) – Mustang Centennial Elementary’s kindergarten class will not attend school in-person at the start of the week.

Instead, the class will transition to virtual learning on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11.

“We found out that more than half of the kindergarten staff at Mustang Centennial Elementary had was not going to be able to report to work either for COVID or for the flu or the stomach bug,” said Kirk Wilson, with Mustang Public Schools. “If we can close at a classroom level, we will. If not, a grade level. If not, a building, but are our hope and, our intention is to keep the district open.” 

Wilson told KFOR 154 students and staff members are out sick. Of those, 54 were positive for COVID-19.

Mustang is not the only district impacted by the rise in cases.

COVID-19 also forced Oklahoma City’s F.D Moon and Taft Middle Schools, Coolidge, and MLK Jr. Elementary Schools to stop in-person learning for several days.

“We know that this is affecting every school district, not only the metro in Oklahoma but the nation,” said Wilson. 

Despite those Oklahoma City Public Schools going virtual for a few days, Superintendent Sean McDaniel told KFOR he has no plan on switching to online learning for the entire district.

McDaniel said students learn best together, and Mustang school officials agree.

 “We are hopeful that, you know, again, things will fall off as fast as they have risen and that we can get back to the normal that we have come to for this school year.”

 Mustang Centennial’s kindergartners can return to the classroom Wednesday morning.  

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