OKLAHOMA CITY – Public schools are adopting a mix of in-person and at-home learning for the 2020- 21 academic year.
Cache Public Schools, for example, added 18 at-home “virtual learning days” to the school calendar. “This is in response to direction provided by the Oklahoma State Department [of Education] and the need for schools to provide longer breaks and to prepare for temporary closures should they be required next winter,” Supt. Chad Hance wrote in a letter to parents.
“We learned a lot in the spring about how we might deliver lessons more effectively through technology,” he said.
Some “differences from last spring” include: lessons will be instructive in nature, lessons will be completed for a grade, and teachers will be at the school and available to interact virtually with students.
“However,” Hance wrote, “the virtual instruction and assignment will be flexible enough that students may complete the lesson at any time before the next school day. Utilizing these days will allow us to have a system in place and practice the transition between regular and virtual instruction in case of a closure, and ensure the transition is much smoother for parents and students.”
Open House at Cache schools is scheduled for Aug. 11, and Aug. 17 is the first day of school for Cache students.
LPS OFFERS FLEXIBILITY
Lawton Public Schools will have in-service training for teachers and administrators Aug. 18-20, and the first day of school for students will be Aug. 21, Supt. Kevin Hime announced.
For those who haven’t already completed the enrollment process, enrollment can be accomplished online. “Once enrolled, you will receive a notification when we open up the options for families to receive the educational option for your student,” parents are advised.
Students can start school online and then transition to a traditional in-school setting. “At this time we are not requiring a full semester commitment in order to do school virtually,” the district reports on its website.
As for social distancing in the classroom, teachers “will reduce items in their classrooms in order to create space among the students.” When possible, student desks face forward “for the purpose of contact tracing,” and each teacher will maintain a class seating chart. Desks and chairs will be sanitized daily. Students will have their own basic school supplies.
Students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms at their own desks, except for preK and kindergarten youngsters, who will eat in the cafeteria while practicing social distancing. For those who choose a school lunch, prepackaged individually wrapped meals will be available. Also, students may bring their own lunches if that’s their preference.
Every student in grades preK-3 is required to wear a face mask in all hallways and while being transported by school vehicle.
Students in grades 4-12 shall be required to wear a face mask while being transported by school vehicle, in all hallways, classrooms where social distancing is not possible, public spaces, and common areas of the school district.
Paper masks will be available for anyone who does not have an appropriate face covering.
LPS VIRTUAL ACADEMY OPEN TO GRADES 6-12
Lawton Public Schools launched the Lawton Virtual Academy (LVA) in the 2019-20 school year. It has been expanded for the 2020-21 school year to enable middle school students, as well, to attend.
Any student entering grades 6-12 who is eligible to attend Lawton Public Schools can enroll in LVA. “Enrolling in LVA gives your student the opportunity to customize an educational program to meet his/her personal needs, as well as still be a part of the local school district,” LPS said.
The district “realizes students today need options when it comes to education and we are proud to offer many different options to students and their families.” Some of the benefits and options to LVA are:
• A full-time teaching staff certified in the areas of high school and middle school English, history, math and science that will have class- rooms at Douglass Learning Center in order to provide face-to-face and/or virtual help in all coursework.
• Flexible scheduling and customized educational plans.
• Option of a blended framework (attending class meetings), a totally virtual experience or a combination of both.
• A dual enrollment option that allows students to take traditional classes at the home schools.
• The option to participate in sports, extracurricular activities, clubs, choir, band, and more.
• High school juniors and seniors can enroll concurrently at Cameron University, take courses at Great Plains Technology Center, and take part in mentor/internship programs.
ALTUS SCHOOL BOARD MEETS AT NOON FRIDAY
Altus Public Schools pushed their start date back to Aug. 17.
The school board has scheduled a special meeting for noon Friday “to discuss and act on Altus Public Schools’ ‘Return to Learn’ safety protocols.”
A draft of those proposals can be found at https://bit. ly/3esTV9s.
EDMOND OFFERING BLENDED MODEL
Edmond Public Schools announced a blended learning model featuring both in-person and at-home classes for the 2020-21 academic year.
Students will be divided into groups A and B. Students in Group A will have in-person classroom instruction on Mondays and Tuesdays, while students in Group B will have in-person classroom instruction on Thursdays and Fridays. All students will have “virtual” classes at home on Wednesday while the school undergoes deep cleaning.
Also, the first day of school has been pushed back to Aug. 20 to give teachers and parents time to prepare for the new schedule.
The alternating schedule is intended to reduce the number of students in a school building by half in order to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus. The Edmond district has 25,000 students.
A downside is that in families who have a student in each of the two groups, a parent or guardian will have to be home all week or the parent(s) will have to make special arrangements with a daycare center.
TULSA MAY ADOPT ‘DISTANCE LEARNING’ FOR FIRST 9 WEEKS
Tulsa Public Schools will not formally decide on how the district will open the school year until the regular school board meeting next Monday night.
However, in an email sent to parents earlier this week, Supt. Deborah Gist said she would recommend that the district start the school year with all distance learning for at least the first nine weeks. TPS has already delayed the start of the 2020-21 academic year to Aug. 31 in order to frontload professional development for its teachers in preparation for distance learning.