OKC schools confirm middle, high school reopening
It's confirmed: Oklahoma City Public Schools will reopen middle and high schools the week of Feb. 1.
This has long been the target date for the school district to resume in-person classes for students in fifth through 12th grades. Superintendent Sean McDaniel announced Friday the return date is no longer tentative but official.
"After spending time touring our buildings with (Oklahoma City-County Health Department) leaders yesterday and discussing the latest data, OKCPS is moving forward with our plan to bring our 5th-12th grade students back in the A/B setting the week of February 1st," McDaniel said. "We encourage our families and staff to finalize their plans for a return to campus."
All students are organized into an A/B schedule, attending in person either Tuesdays and Thursdays or Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays are a virtual learning day for all schools in the district. This means the first groups of students will return to middle and high schools on Feb. 2.
Elementary schools in the district reopened this week with an A/B schedule, and small groups of alternative and special education students began meeting. It was the first time in two months that any district schools had in-person learning.
Oklahoma City reopened in the fall but managed few days of face-to-face instruction. A late-October ice storm, which knocked out power to much of the city, caused class cancellations for pre-K and kindergarten students, the only children back to in-person learning at the time. Four days after first through 12th grade returned, high community spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma County prompted the district to close completely.
Ahead of the most recent reopening, the district installed ionization systems to purify the air in all the classrooms and workspaces of every school. District leaders are hopeful the latest attempt will last with added layers of disinfecting, free rapid testing for school staff and their families, and vaccinations of district employees potentially beginning Feb. 12 through private provider Passport Health.
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