BIXBY, Okla. — Bixby Public Schools announced Wednesday it's updating the district's mask guidelines for elementary and intermediate students starting Monday, April 19.
BPS officials said the district would allow teachers in grades pre-K through 6th grade to set their own masking guidelines for their classrooms.
The decision comes as COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma are trending downward and more people are becoming vaccinated.
"New case counts in Tulsa County have declined from highs of 92 new cases/100k population in mid-January to only 7.2 last Wednesday. COVID-related hospitalizations are a tenth of where they were three months ago," Superintendent Rob Miller said in a statement. "More importantly, our district cases have stabilized at manageable levels and there is little evidence of active transmission in our schools. Additionally, a large majority of our employees will be two weeks past their final vaccination at the end of this week and all Oklahoma citizens above 16 years of age are now eligible for vaccines."
In the classroom, teachers may decide to allow the following:
- students to make their own choice on wearing masks
- may allow unmasking during portions of the day and not others (such as small group lessons or carpet time)
- or continue to require masking at all times
The school district said it will support whatever decision the teacher makes in their classroom.
Masks will continue to be mandatory during the following:
- while riding on school buses
- during arrival and dismissal
- at other times during the school day where large numbers of students are traveling between classes
The district said students will maintain the option of wearing a mask at all times if they choose.
"The district has decided to adopt these changes for elementary grades only since COVID case counts are historically lower for younger students and documented cases have shown potential health impacts to be minimal," Miller said. "We will continue to monitor COVID levels and trends on a daily basis and make decisions relative to secondary grades based on future data."
For more information about Bixby Public Schools response to COVID-19, click here.
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