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Tulsa area school districts look at COVID-19 impact on next semester

Posted at 12:29 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 14:03:25-05

TULSA, Okla. — As COVID-19 cases rise , school districts across the Tulsa metro area are thinking ahead to how this will impact the spring semester.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported over 4,500 active COVID-19 cases across the state.

READ MORE: OSDH: Over 4,500 new COVID-19 cases reported since Friday

The omicron variant has since been discovered in the state. Oklahoma was one of the last states to report an active case of the quickly-spreading variant. According to OU Health, omicron appears to be more easily transmitted than the delta variant. Early evidence so far suggests the symptoms that come with the omicron variant might be less severe.

READ MORE: Omicron variant found in Tulsa sewage

2 News reached out to several school districts to see how they are preparing ahead due to cases rising again.

Bixby Public Schools

Superintendent Rob Miller says the school district is remaining concerned about the "lingering impacts" of the pandemic it is having on Bixby staff, students, and their families. At this time, the district is not changing any protocols.

A portion of his statement reads:

"As we return to school next week, the district will continue to closely monitor our case counts and spread within our schools. The district has been able to maintain in-person instruction throughout the first semester by encouraging the use of masks and supporting vaccinations for all who are able to receive them.

The rapid spread of the latest Omicron variant is troubling. However, at this time, the district is not considering any changes to its COVID protocols or a transition to distance learning for any of our schools. We also recognize these decisions are highly dependent on the availability of teachers, substitutes, and support staff - such as paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and child nutrition workers. The district encourages our families to remain prepared for brief disruptions to normal school operations in response to potential staff shortages while remaining committed to doing all we can to keep our schools safe and open for our students and employees."

Union Public Schools

Union officials say they are working closely with the Tulsa Health Department to monitor the current situation. A portion of their statement reads:

"Earlier this month, our Board of Education had looked at the possibility of removing our mandate and elected to keep it in effect due to uncertainties related to Omicron and the impact of the holidays in COVID levels. At this time, we are pleased with the effectiveness of the safety protocols we have had in place at school and have no plans to move to distance learning."

We will update this as we hear back from more schools.

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