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Back to school amid delta spike: some Green Country districts have plans set, others don't

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 15:44:36-04

TULSA, Okla. — The latest COVID-19 threat from the Delta Variant is forcing some school districts to wait on back-to-school plans.

The first day for many students is in three to four weeks. Some education leaders are using that time to consult area health departments. The department is in close contact with area school administrators, reviewing plans, answering questions, and providing guidance. Leaders of five school districts told 2 News Oklahoma their COVID-19 protocols for this fall are not ready to be released. Those districts are Jenks, Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, and Union.

The back-to-school plan for Owasso Public Schools includes taking the situation one day at a time, as they monitor trends and urge students, staff, and teachers to stay home when sick.

“What we have to do is we have to go about our business, have school in session, be mindful, be watchful, but also, if we’re able to continue in that normal fashion, we want to continue in that normal fashion,” said Dr. Amy Fichtner, superintendent of OPS.

This school year, just like the last, is described as being filled with unknowns. The advantage this time is hindsight.

“When I think back to where we were a year ago, we’ve obviously learned many things about mitigation strategies; what works and what doesn’t,” Chuck McCauley, said, superintendent of Bartlesville schools. “Also, there are vaccines available for those that want it.”

While the hope is to not suffer through another virtual school year, some districts are keeping that option on the shelf.

“Our schools know how to pivot if they need to and move to distance learning,” said Katherine Bishop, president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

On the first day back, many Green Country districts are expecting to see school buses driving through neighborhoods and children at school in person.

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