TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education voted Monday to keep all secondary students in distance learning until January when they return from winter break.
On the Jan. 4, middle, junior high and high school students will return to in-person instruction four days a week, TPS officials said. Wednesdays will remain distance learning days.
The decision to wait is upsetting to some parents like Maria Gray. She said her children need to be back in school now.
"Kids need to be back in school," Gray said. “I think they should have started with the high schoolers because, you know, the kids have been going to school a lot longer. They’re dealing with more difficulties. They’re dealing with depression. They’re dealing with anxiety.”
Distance learning is proving to be difficult for many students who said they don’t feel like they’re learning as much as they could if they were in-person.
“To be honest they’re not even teaching us," said Destinia Renteria, Gray's daughter who is a 10th-grade student at Tulsa MET Junior High and High School. "We’re just looking at stuff and answering questions.”
There are many who wish the district would remain in distance learning. Those in favor of learning from home said it’s unsafe to send students and teachers back to the classroom while COVID cases are high.
Others also said it’s unfair to send elementary students back before older students. It could make it difficult for families like Gray’s, as her children are split between the grades.
“I got a sixth-grader that’s in elementary school," Gray said. "Then, I got another middle school, junior high. And you know, she says it’s unfair because he gets to go back to school and they don’t.”
The board decided last week elementary students would start transitioning back to the classroom on Nov. 9.
The board voted on the following return to school dates for pre-K through elementary school students:
- Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten return to in-person classes on Monday, Nov. 9.
- Elementary students in grades 1-3 will return to in-person classes on Monday, Nov. 16. Elementary students in grades 4 and 5 will return to in-person classes on Monday, Nov. 30. Students who are in the 6th grade at an elementary school will also return on Monday, Nov. 30.
- Wednesdays will continue to be distance learning days for students.
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