One of Oklahoma’s largest school districts back to in-person learning as COVID-19 cases climb

One of Oklahoma’s largest school districts back to in-person learning as COVID-19 cases climb

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One of the state’s largest school districts is back in the classroom for the first time since March.  

Oklahoma City Public Schools students returned to in-person learning Tuesday.  

“It’s been almost eight months since our students have had face-to-face in-person instruction,” said Melani Mouse, the assistant superintendent for the Oklahoma City Public School District.

Students at U.S. Grant High School lined up for nearly an hour waiting for temperature checks before being allowed inside the building.

Masks were worn by all students and social distancing was attempted.  

Some parents and teachers showed up at a Monday night board meeting to voice their concerns.  

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“It’s terrifying to me as a parent to be sending my teenage son back to high school this week,” said Stephanie Burghart, a parent.  

“I do not want to attend a funeral of a kid, their parent or a colleague,” said another parent.

School administrators say they’re aware of the risks, but say they’re prepared to keep students safe.  

“We believe the best place for kids is in a school house,” said Oklahoma City Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel.

Students are divided into two rotating groups.

“Group A” goes to school in-person Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Group B” goes to school in-person Wednesdays and Thursdays. Mondays are virtual learning days for all students.  

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“That A/B program allows us to socially distance, it allows us to minimize the number of students in the hallways, in the classrooms, in the cafeteria,” said Jason Brown, the Deputy Superintendent for the district.  

Oklahoma County currently sits in the Orange Level Two Zone for COVID-19 cases.

If it goes above this level into the Red Zone, students will have to return to virtual learning.  

Administrators say they’ve been working on the plan to return to school for months.

“We recognize that the numbers are going up. We recognize that’s the environment that we live in, but we’ve been living in a pandemic for quite a while and that pandemic wasn’t more comfortable or more safe for teachers a month ago or two months ago,” said Brown.  

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School administrators tell KFOR some Pre-K and kindergarten students, which have already been back to in-person learning for weeks, have contracted COVID-19. They say some classes are now in quarantine.

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