State Superintendent

Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister speaks on Monday, March 16, 2020 to announce the closing of public school till April 6 to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman

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.

This is a developing story and we will reach out to Wagoner County superintendents for comment.

Andrea Eger 


Twitter: @AndreaEger

Staff Writer

Andrea is a projects reporter, examining key education topics and other local issues. Since joining the Tulsa World in 1999, she has been a three-time winner of Oklahoma’s top award for investigative reporting by an individual. Phone: 918-581-8470