Oklahoma’s public school buildings would remain mothballed for the remainder of 2019-20 and distance learning would begin for students April 6 if the state Board of Education approves.
The new recommendation from State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister will be considered at a special state board meeting set for Wednesday morning.
“Our districts have begun planning their alternative delivery methods to support student learning as they prepare to reconnect students with their teachers in adaptive ways,” Hofmeister said in a news release. “We are determined to support our Pre-K through high school students as well as English learners, special education students and those who need reinforced skills or additional enrichment. We recognize this reality will present challenges for many families and districts, but these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures.”
The state Board of Education already authorized the mandatory closure of all public schools from March 17 through April 5.
Hofmeister said continuing to keep school buildings closed to in-person instruction and extra-curricular activities while coming up with a coordinated, “continuous learning plan,” for the remainder of the year is the right thing to do.
“This coordinated, swift and thoughtful action will help safeguard the health and well-being of our communities, students and professionals in public schools. We must do absolutely everything in our power to reduce transmission of coronavirus,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Education has already granted waivers from federal laws and regulations to permit continued school meal service for qualifying students and to suspend standardized testing and Oklahoma School Report Cards for the 2019-20 school year.
On Wednesday, the state board will consider applying for a host of additional waivers for flexibility with school calendars and restrictions on the use of funds.