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Tulsa Public Schools starts fall semester amid rising COVID-19 cases

Posted at 7:29 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 18:39:51-04

TULSA, Okla. — Students in Green Country’s largest brick-and-mortar school district is heading back to the classroom.

Tulsa Public Schools start their fall semester this morning. However, the district’s return to school comes with challenges as cases are rising across the Green Country.

Some Oklahoma districts are defying a state law prohibits school boards from mandating masks. Senate Bill 658 bans school boards from requiring students to wear masks. The only exception is if the governor issues an emergency declaration. But late last month, Governor Kevin Stitt said he doesn’t plan on doing that.

There's one district mandating masks. Oklahoma City Public Schools are requiring face coverings on school property regardless of vaccination status. Becoming the second school to resist the state law prohibiting mask mandates in school.

SEE MORE: Tulsa Public Schools starts fall semester amid rising COVID-19 cases

Meanwhile, Tulsa Public Schools board recently held a special meeting and voted to allow attorneys to explore legal options.

"No action has been taken at this point, but we are exploring all of the possibilities," superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said.

In an interview Thursday morning, Dr. Gist told 2 News Oklahoma the district is willing and ready to shut down schools if cases rise. Additionally, she’s urging parents to be prepared for distance learning. In the meantime, the district is strongly encouraging students and staff to mask up to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr. Deborah Gist on TPS' first day of school

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