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March 19, 2020 Message from McDaniel - Closure Update

Dear OKCPS Students, Families and Community;

As you know, both the Governor Stitt and Mayor Holt have declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 or the coronavirus.  Soon thereafter, the State Board of Education voted to close all Oklahoma public schools, effective immediately, until at least April 6th in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19. While this mandated closure is currently for the two weeks following spring break, state officials have encouraged school administrators to plan for the possibility of long-term closures if it becomes necessary.  This is an unprecedented situation that is changing by the hour. As we receive additional guidance and support, we will notify you as soon as possible by using all of the communication methods available to us. We understand that you are anxious and we want to assure you that OKCPS is doing everything possible to meet the needs of our students and staff.  

While this closure may be extended at some point, our primary focus right now is on how we will provide support for our students and staff during the announced 2-week closure that runs until April 6. Based upon information we have received from state officials, we can share the following updates at this time:

  • Beginning Monday, March 23rd, OKCPS will provide free meals to students at 42 sites around the district, including elementary school campuses and several city parks. Grab-&-Go breakfast and lunches will be available to any child 0-18 years of age from Monday - Friday. (Applications, ID, and proof of income are not required.) Click here for a list of feeding locations and times.
  • During the closure that runs until April 6, there will be no instruction, no grading, no extracurricular activities, events, or practices, no professional development for staff, and no staff attendance at conferences. ‘No instruction’ includes home-based, on-line, and digital learning.
  • The district will be providing links to instructional resourcesthat students and families can use from home. These resources are optional.
  • Based upon information we have at this time, we do not believe students or employees will be required to make-up missed days due to COVID-19. 
  • All OKCPS employees (except substitutes) will continue to be paid for the duration of the current state-mandated school closure. 
  • For the duration of this closure, district operations will be significantly modified.  The majority of district employees will be working remotely. All offices and school buildings will be closed to the public. Any urgent concerns or questions you may have would be best and most effectively conveyed to us via email. For school-related questions or concerns, please use the email assigned to the school principal which can be found on each school’s website. For district-related questions, please use covid19@okcps.org.  Emails will be monitored daily and responses will be provided as soon as possible.
  • OKCPS is grateful to our staff and community partners and volunteers and the work you do to help our students regularly. We know many of you are anxious to help. However, with the current CDC and state/city-level restrictions in place, we are trying to be thoughtful about how to engage you. Our Community Relations team is working closely with our Foundation and our community contacts to determine our current needs. In order to receive volunteer opportunities, please fill out our volunteer application here: okcps.org/volunteerapp. This is how we will communicate with current/new OKCPS volunteers.Thank you in advance for raising your hand to support our students. 

Additional details about the district’s response to COVID-19 can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). I encourage you to take a moment to review the information and to check back often, as our teams will continue to update them as needed. 

Please continue to follow the health guidance that agencies are providing -- most especially coughing and sneezing into your elbow, appropriate handwashing, and social distancing.  For complete guidance, please visit any of the following sites:

This is a challenging time for everyone.  As we work together to overcome the challenges ahead, one of the most important things we can all do is take care of ourselves both mentally and physically, and take care of others around us.  

Anyone in the OKC community can access the resources available through the 2-1-1 HeartLine. HeartLine's staff is working hard to collaborate with their partners to serve Oklahomans in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you find yourself in need of anything during this time, dial 2-1-1 or visit https://heartlineoklahoma.org/.

Things are changing rapidly, but please rest assured that OKCPS is working daily to ensure our students and staff are being supported. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Sean McDaniel

Superintendent of Schools