Oklahoma City Public Schools announced yesterday that it is shifting the entire school district to virtual learning, citing COVID-19 case numbers. As the COVID-19 omicron surge extends across the country, OKC Public Schools is just one district among a growing list of those who are unable to provide in-person educational instruction for students.
According to school district superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel, “OKCPS school and district leaders have been monitoring COVID-19 cases and staff and student absences. Unfortunately, we continue to see a significant number of our teachers, instructional and support staff and students out across the district due to illness or other circumstances.”
“Even after working to reassign staff at all levels across the district, we have determined that we can no longer adequately sustain a safe and meaningful learning environment for our students. This is a manpower issue, and we are simply out of options,” he added.
The school website noted that elementary-aged students through high school will complete assignments over the Canvas learning platform. Parents will also have an opportunity to engage with teachers through office hours or over Zoom.
COVID hindering an already struggling education system in Oklahoma
Many school districts across Oklahoma — and the country — have been forced to shutter their learning environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hit particularly hard this winter and shows no sign of letting up. Record-breaking numbers of cases are being recorded daily, with up to 1.5 million new infections each day.
Meanwhile, supply chain navigation is breaking down, with citizens facing difficulties in obtaining Covid tests, and long delays in receiving results. While Omicron appears to cause less severe sickness than the previous Delta variant, those who are not yet vaccinated are at great risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
According to Dr. Darren Thomas, Regional Hospitalist Director with Core Clinical Partners at Hillcrest Health System, “Omicron is an extraordinarily infectious virus. Everyone who can should obtain their vaccination and booster immunization as soon as possible.”
To schedule your COVID-19 vaccine, go to vaccinate.ok.gov or contact your local pharmacy or health department.