OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Board of Education is set to meet Thursday at 9:30 a.m. CST in a special meeting to discuss the upcoming school year.
It’s an uncertain time as parents, students and educators try to navigate the best way to go back to class during a global pandemic.
As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Oklahoma, the board is planning for all scenarios heading to the fall.
“I've never seen people work so hard. District leaders, teachers, principals are trying to move heaven and Earth to get kids back into school, and into classrooms,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said.
The special meeting will consider a number of business items, including a response to public comment.
Hofmeister says the ever-evolving situation presents a unique challenge for the department.
“In a time of a global pandemic, people want specificity. And it may be impossible for us to give that, because truly the science is still investigating and we are still learning, and we need to be able to shift to what the science tells us is the right way to protect our kids. And so, I would ask for patience in that and know that we're all in this together,” Hofmeister said.
One item that will be discussed is a possible COVID-19 alert system for schools.
“So, the Department of Health, the State Department of Health has a map. It's like a heat map, and it's a COVID-19 alert system by county, and it has a seven day rolling average per capita of active cases. So, what we're doing is looking at a full spectrum from green to red with a safety set of protocols for schools, and those would not be a one size fits all, but would look at green as being the goal, and where we want to be with recommendations, but then as we move into that caution level, or even a danger zone. We need to respond to that,” Hofmeister said.
While the board is preparing for both in-person and virtual learning options, Hofmeister says heading back into the classroom is the best thing for students.
“So, we're asking right now while it's still July that Oklahomans wear a mask. When Oklahomans wear masks, in all these communities across the state, we will see the transmission lower, or stabilize so that we can go back to school in person, face to face with our kids, and then stay in school. That's the goal,” Hofmeister said.
The special meeting will be live streaming on the Oklahoma Department of education Facebook page.
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