11/27/2020 Message from McDaniel - Weekly COVID-19 Update
OKCPS Families and Staff,
I hope everyone is taking time to rest and recharge during this Thanksgiving holiday. As promised, we want to provide you with an update on our COVID-19 status and the district plan for the week ahead.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) indicates that the cases per 100,000 for Oklahoma County are 86.0, as compared to 73.1 last week. This means Oklahoma County remains in the OSDE’s Red Alert Level. And, based on this information and advice from public health officials, our students and teachers will continue to learn/teach remotely for the remainder of the semester, and other district staff will return to our buildings on a staggered schedule for the week of November 30 - December 4.
OKCPS Weekly COVID Reporting
Each Friday, OKCPS reports the number of “self-reported” positive COVID-19 cases, along with the number of individuals who have been asked to isolate due to potential exposure to the virus. In order to continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 cases, we would ask families to continue to report positive cases of students to their schools.
“Close Contact” Exposure refers to the number of cases when a staff member or student was in “close contact” with a person who has tested positive for COVID and has been asked to isolate. “Close contact” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention occurs when an individual is within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days (or 48 hours) before the infected person’s onset of symptoms.
Self-Reported Positive Cases refers to the number of cases when a staff member or student has notified OKCPS of positive results from a COVID-19 test.
Although OKCPS has committed to Remote Learning through the remainder of the semester, we recognize the social and emotional toll that being out of school takes on our students. We know that positive interaction with peers and the ability to participate in school-related activities can play an important role in a student’s overall physical and mental wellness. OKCPS continues to explore options that would allow us to resume fine arts, athletics, and other extracurricular activities in a safe and healthy manner. As a reminder, this may take some time to fully evaluate, but we will share additional updates as they become available.
OKCPS has a dedicated hotline for all staff to report COVID-19 cases or exposure, and families should call their child’s school directly if their child tests positive or is presumed to be positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to a positive person. Although we are currently in a Remote Learning setting, we encourage families to continue to report positive cases of students to their schools in order to continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 Reporting Instructions can be found here: www.okcps.org/Page/5673
As a reminder, our “Grab & Go” breakfast, lunch, supper and snack will continue to be available to all students who are learning remotely at no cost from Monday through Friday at all school sites between 10:30am and 12:30pm.
The holidays can be especially difficult, but OKCPS remains committed to supporting our students, families and staff in every way possible. As students return to remote learning next week, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher / school for support with Remote Learning. And, if needed, families may also call 58-STUDY (7-8839) for academic support or 587-HELP (4357) for technical support. The OKCPS 587-FEEL (3335) hotline also remains active to provide emotional support and crisis intervention.
OKCPS employees also have access to our Employee Assistance Program at no cost. Resources include emotional support, legal and financial guidance and much more. Visit the OKCPS EAP page to learn more.
The entire OKC community can access the resources available through the 2-1-1 HeartLine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for help with counseling, rental assistance, food pantries, affordable housing, health resources, child care, after-school programs, caregiver support, financial programs, literacy, and job programs. As always, please call 911 for emergencies. And, if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call 2-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255) for 24/7 support.
As we wrap up this Thanksgiving holiday, I just want to leave you with this.
To OKCPS families, I am grateful for your patience, support and flexibility. None of the decisions being made are easy and I know the impact of the decisions made by OKCPS stretch far and wide. But I hope you know how much our teachers and district staff love and care for your students. They are the reason we continue to push through, innovate and make things happen during these very difficult times. As always, your students are our inspiration.
To #TeamOKCPS, I am grateful for your passion, your resilience and your expertise. But, perhaps more than anything, I am grateful for your heart for our kids. Despite the distance between us all, I can feel how much you care -- and so can they. Sure, it’s easy to stop and think about being grateful during Thanksgiving, but I’ve found that the real challenge is finding gratitude when we are feeling tired and overwhelmed. Sitting in this chair isn’t always easy especially when the big decisions have to be made, and that’s okay. It’s what I signed up for. But, the truth is, as we have moved through adversity and as I have seen how you all have responded, I am more grateful than ever to be a part of #TeamOKCPS.
Please enjoy the remainder of your break and I will provide you with another update next Friday. Let’s take care of each other and stay safe, everyone.
Dr. Sean McDaniel, Superintendent