Union Public Schools denied the recommendation to conduct distance learning for the start of the 2020-21 school year, according to district officials.
The district made the decision to hold in-person and virtual learning this fall during a board meeting on Monday evening.
The district previously approved a plan giving students the option for in-person or virtual learning; however, Superintendent Kirt Hartzler made
the new distance learning recommendation after discussions with local health officials.
The Union Classroom Teachers Association supported Superintendent Hartzler's recommendation to begin the year with distance learning.
UCTA surveyed 321 teachers about the upcoming school year. 69 percent of those surveyed said they do not feel safe returning to in-person instruction on Aug. 24.
Approximately 35 percent of students are enrolled in virtual learning, according to the district. Union Public Schools will only move towards distance learning if in-person learning is disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has been an extremely difficult decision, as the safety of our students has always been our #1 goal. However, our Board has examined the recommendations of the Tulsa Health Department and the protocols issued by the State Board of Education, and weighed them against the learning needs of our students and the desire of many parents to have children back in school. As a result, the children enrolled in in-person learning will start the school year in classrooms with teachers. While I still have concerns, I can assure you that Union Public Schools will do everything in its power to keep students and staff safe. We will proceed with in-person school as long as possible, and should it become necessary to take action, we will close school as needed. That is in our School Re-Entry Plan, and we will stick with the plan.”
In July, officials released that 67 percent of parents said they preferred their child attends school in-person at Union as long as safety measures are in place. The other 31.4 percent of parents said they preferred distance learning.
The school year will be held Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 through May 25, 2021.
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