Monday November 16, 2020

How we can help get kids back in the classrooms

Students in Oklahoma City Public Schools went back into school buildings on an A/B schedule last week. As is common with OKCPS, it was met with some controversy as well as some support.

With numbers of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma County at dangerous levels and based on guidance provided by Oklahoma City County Health Department, district leaders already have made the decision to pull back to 100% virtual learning through the end of the semester.

Putting kids and teachers in school buildings poses a COVID-19 transmission risk that is real.

Settings with high volumes of time spent like school and worksites naturally make the case incidence higher than settings with briefer periods of time.

That being said, the risk to kids by keeping them out of school buildings is also very real. Learning loss is real. Food insecurity is real. Trauma and neglect is real.

School leaders in Oklahoma and worldwide are faced with extraordinarily difficult decisions. Being on the same page statewide in supporting back-to-school plans that include carefully thought out and implemented safety measures, as well as mask mandates inside school buildings, is critical and will be as important in January as it is now.

Additionally, what we as individuals can do is simple.

We can all follow Oklahoma City County Health Department’s Three W’s:

• Wear your mask

• Watch your distance

• Wash your hands

Doing this not only keeps us safe, but can put our kids back in school where they belong.

Read Foundation President & CEO Mary Mélon’s original Oklahoman editorial.

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