Students Return to Classrooms
Oklahoma City’s youngest students are likely to return to face-to-face classes next month, The Black Chronicle has learned.
The school district announced last week that pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes would resume in-person learning on Oct. 19.
Those students will return in a hybrid A/B schedule that, effectively, cuts class sizes in half, it was announced.
Other students (i.e., those in first through 12th grades) are expected to return on Nov. 9 in an A/B schedule, according to officials.
All students in the district have had online learning since the school year began in August.
Within a text-message to families, Supt. Sean McDaniel said pre kindergarten and kindergarten students have “some of the greatest challenges in an online setting” and are the least familiar with traditional schooling.
“This plan will give them a chance to acclimate before the rest of the students arrive,”Supt. McDaniel wrote.
“We also know it is most difficult for our youngest learners to work independently, so bringing them back to the classroom first will allow them to work in small groups and develop other social skills that will be the foundation for future learning.”
Administrators originally suggested bringing early childhood students back Sept. 21.
The school board disagreed with the idea during a meeting last week, saying schools and families wouldn’t have enough time to prepare with only a week’s notice.
Administrators reconsidered the target date during a leadership meeting also held early last week.
They agreed to reopen enrollment to a full-time virtual curriculum, called E3, for families who don’t want their children to return to school in person.
Families must contact their school by Sept. 30 to opt into E3.
Distance learning will become face-to-face classes two days a week.
Schools plan to have no more than 15 pre-kindergarten or kindergarten students in a classroom at a time, according to Tuesday’s announcement.
Pre-kindergarten students who have distance learning sessions in the mornings are sorted into Group A.
This group will come to schools on Mondays and Tuesdays. They will have a packet of activities to complete at home the rest of the week.
Students who currently have afternoon sessions will belong to Group B. They will attend in-person classes on Thursdays and Fridays.
All students will participate in remote learning on Wednesdays while schools are deep cleaned.
The district expects children to wear masks at school and can provide face coverings if needed. Students will have their temperature taken upon arrival.
Teachers are required to wear face coverings and will wipe down high-touch surfaces.
Bus transportation to schools will be available for kindergarten students but not pre-kindergarten. The district hasn’t historically provided pre-kindergarten transportation.
Small groups of students have already returned for face-to-face instruction. Several hundred in special education began attending classes two weeks ago.
“As we continue to move down the runway toward a full return to campus, district leaders are committed to maintaining that momentum by bringing back pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students along with small groups of our most vulnerable students such as those in alternative education programs, our newcomer families and those experiencing homelessness,” Supt. McDaniel wrote.