Edmond, Putnam City restore classes to four days a week
Two large metro-area school districts will return to face-to-face classes four days a week.
After considering declining rates of local COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates, school boards governing Putnam City and Edmond Public Schools voted Monday night to have students attend school in person four days a week instead of two. Both districts have been using an A/B schedule that blends two days of at-home study with two days of in-school instruction.
All Putnam City schools will return to classes four days a week on April 5. Students will attend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with Wednesdays as a remote learning day. The district will use Wednesdays to create online content for students in quarantine and to conduct state testing.
Putnam City, with 17,800 students, had virtual instruction for much of the fall semester before reopening all schools in A/B schedules after winter break.
Edmond’s 23,600 students have spent most of the year attending classes Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays, excluding those who enrolled in a full-time virtual curriculum.
Beginning March 11, Edmond’s elementary students will attend school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Teachers will use Wednesdays to prepare online lessons for students in quarantine.
Middle and high schools will adopt the same four-day schedule March 22, the week after spring break.
Edmond Superintendent Bret Towne said declining COVID-19 cases and widespread vaccinations of district staff created a “perfect convergence” to expand in-person learning.
The A/B schedule effectively cut school occupancy in half. With the four-day schedule, all Edmond students will return to classes at the same time, doubling the number of students in schools.
Towne said he expects the number of COVID-19 cases to remain consistent among staff and students, but quarantines could rise significantly. This creates a need for a school day focused on quarantined students and their online learning, he said.
Regardless, several Edmond parents were unhappy with the board’s decision to open classes four days a week instead of five.
A Facebook group, Parent Voice: Edmond, organized a rally Monday and invited members to speak at the school board meeting.
One of those parents was Trevor Smith, senior pastor of Nichols Hills United Methodist Church. Smith said his daughters, who attend Russell Dougherty Elementary, hate the hybrid A/B model and want to be back in school full time.
“We pay taxes with the expectation that our daughters and all students in this district will be able to attend in-class learning,” Smith said in public comment. “Not two days a week, not three days a week, not four days a week. Five days a week.”