OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – The first day of school looks very different for kids across the state.
On Aug. 31, Oklahoma City Public Schools will begin their school year virtually. The district will reevaluate after nine weeks to see if students will stay online.
“We know there have been a lot of struggles, our kids have been in isolation, we haven’t seen them for months,” Dr. Sean McDaniel, Superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, said.
He says the goal is to get kids back to school when it’s safe.
For now, students will be doing one of two virtual options– remote learning, which follows a class schedule, or e3, which is self-paced.
Students will be in touch with teachers.
“Every Oklahoma City Public Schools student will have an OKCPS teacher either as an instructor or mentor. So someone who is checking in on them, making phone calls, looking at work,” McDaniel said.
He also encourages families who need help to reach out to counselors or social workers.
“We know this has been a tough ride, and no doubt the next few weeks are going to be tough,” he said.
Over in Norman, the school district has already started online.
Parent MaryAnn Martin has children in the first, fifth, and eighth grades.
“[I] had a game face on Monday, went into the beginning of the week with a game face on, and then by Friday I was just exhausted,” she said.
Martin says it’s been a lot to keep track of.
“I’m logging one kid in at 8:15, another at 9:15, making sure the 8th grader jumps on at 9:20,” she said.
Elementary students in the district will go back to in-person learning on Monday. The Superintendent made the decision based on the fact that Cleveland County has stayed in the yellow zone for COVID-19 cases.
Martin is opting for more of a blended version, pulling her kids out of school during classes where there might be more cross contact.
She says while there have been challenges and frustrations for families, it’s a new process for everyone involved.
“We all need to be healthy, and we all need to, you know, stay alive, that’s the goal,” Martin said.
Middle and high schoolers at Norman Public Schools will continue with virtual learning through Sept. 4.