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Tulsa Public Schools superintendent offers options for possible return to school

TPS Board of Education to hear Superintendent's recommendations on district's future on Monday
Posted at 2:39 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 22:17:15-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public School Superintendent Deborah Gist presented options for a return to in person learning, depending on how the COVID-19 numbers are in Tulsa.

Gist recommended if COVID-19 conditions remain stable or improve, the district recommends carefully phasing students back to in-person learning beginning on Monday, Nov. 9. This is pending approval by the school board.

“We are very concerned about the health and safety of everyone in our community, and that includes the physical, mental, social, and emotional health of the children and families we serve,” said Gist. “These are incredibly difficult decisions, and we are listening to all of the perspectives we’re hearing, we’re reviewing the research, we’re engaging with health experts, and we are working to understand the full scope of the public health implications of this pandemic even as conditions change almost daily,” said Gist.

There are three scenarios depending on the COVID-19 numbers:

If COVID-19 remains stable:

  • November 9: grades Pre-K/K return in hybrid (2 days in-person, 3 days distance)
  • November 16: grades 1, 2, 3 return in hybrid (2 days in-person, 3 days distance)
  • November 30: grades 4-12 return in hybrid (2 days in-person, 3 days distance)

If COVID-19 conditions improve:

  • November 9: grades Pre-K/K return in hybrid (2 days in-person, 3 days distance)
  • November 16: grades 1, 2, 3 return in hybrid (2 days in-person, 3 days distance)
  • November 30: grades Pre-K-3 shift to in-person*
  • November 30: grades 4-12 return in-person*
  • *In-person learning includes four days in-classroom and distance learning on Wednesdays.

If COVID-19 conditions worsen:

  • November 9: grades Pre-K-12 remain in distance.

Officials said the district developed the recommendations through research and data and in close collaboration with public health experts and medical advisors. The district also gathered feedback from school leaders, teachers, support professionals, students, families, and community members.

The district said there is a plan to provide flexibility for parents who prefer their children continue in distance learning at home.

Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart said: “Every parent in Tulsa County can agree the safety of our children is paramount. I appreciate the thorough and thoughtful discussions that have taken place with Tulsa Public School administrators regarding their recommendation to return to the classroom in a hybrid model. These are not easy decisions, and the multi-faceted balance of public health and safety must be taken into consideration. The Tulsa Health Department remains committed to providing timely, accurate and local data for all community members and decision-makers.”

The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education will make a decision about how the district will return to learning in quarter two on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Members of the public can access streaming video of the meeting and find information about speaking to the Board at www.tulsaschools.org/board.

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