District reopening updates

posted Jul 29, 2020, 1:53 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jul 29, 2020, 2:19 PM ]
On July 23, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved Oklahoma School Safety Protocols as a set of recommendations for the state's public schools, developed in collaboration with public health officials. The district has reviewed those recommendations so as to incorporate them into its detailed reopening plans and procedures.

Face Coverings Required for Grades 4 & Up

The district had already planned to require face coverings for students in grades 6 and up, with coverings for elementary students strongly encouraged. Per the new guidelines from the State Board of Education, the district will now require face coverings for students in grades 4 and up. Teachers will continue to encourage and help students below 4th grade learn to wear face coverings whenever social distancing is difficult or not feasible, realizing that doing so safely is more realistic as students mature toward 4th grade. Accommodations, such as wearing a face shield, will be provided for students who have special conditions that prevent the use of a district-supplied neck gaiter or mask.

Tiered Responses Based on County COVID-19 Rate

The district's full reopening plan has also been updated to reflect the tiers of protocols and safeguards recommended by the state based on Washington County's status in the Oklahoma State Department of Health's COVID-19 Alert System. Since early May, the county has been in the Yellow band in that system, which is assigned to counties with a weekly positive case rate of between 1.43 and 14.39 cases per 100,000. The district's existing plan reflects that level, with the only adjustment being to add a face covering requirement for grades 4 and 5.

If the county rose to a higher level in the state's alert system, the district would consider Distance Learning for most students but has labored to provide more robust services than it could provide during the statewide shutdown in April and May. The large metro districts in the state which have opted to begin the school year virtually are at the higher alert levels. When Washington county falls to a lower level, the district's measures can be relaxed.

Virtual Enrollments

Parents who were interested in full-time or blended virtual school were asked to commit by July 27. About 1 out of every 5 students have enrolled in virtual school. The district is now scrambling to adjust its staffing to support those students, who have committed to virtual school for at least the first quarter of the new school year. Staffing is likewise being adjusted to ensure the 80% of students enrolled in traditional in-person school are properly served. 

Updated Bus Stops

Bus stop timings have been updated for the new school year. To reduce the number of students riding a bus, parents are urged to consider dropping off students whenever feasible or having students walk to school when that is reasonable. For students still riding the bus, parents should visit BPSBUS.COM and use Edulog WebQuery to look up their home address and see the appropriate bus stops and times.

Enrolling Pre-Kindergarten & New Students

Any parents of pre-kindergarten students, or parents with students new to the district, who have not yet enrolled their children should contact the appropriate school as soon as possible. The school sites are now open, and Edulog WebQuery can match up a school with a home address.