2/26/2021 Message from McDaniel | Weekly COVID-19 Update
OKCPS Families and Staff,
I’m sure you’ll agree that it has been nice to finally see the sun again this week! I hope you got a chance to enjoy it. Thanks again for your patience and flexibility as we battled the winter weather these last few weeks. Kudos again to our incredible teachers and students pivoted back and forth between synchronous and asynchronous online learning, and many thanks to our Operations and Network Services teams who have done a great job of responding to a variety of challenges brought on by the winter storm. Days like those continue to remind me that OKCPS is lucky to have some of the very best in the business working in our district!
This has been a big week for vaccine distribution as PK-12 educators became eligible to receive the shot! OKCPS is continuing to work closely with our public health partners to support both public and private vaccination opportunities for our staff and the community. On Monday, we partnered with OCCHD to host a public POD at Douglass High School for citizens in Northeast OKC and 400 of our teachers. Tomorrow we will host our next private vaccine POD for 1,000 more OKCPS employees, and our OCCHD partners are also holding a large mega-POD for 3,000 educators at Oklahoma City Community College. We hope that through this work, all of our staff who are interested in receiving the shot will soon be vaccinated!
In the meantime, OKCPS continues to encourage all staff and families who are interested in the vaccine to pre-register with the Oklahoma State Health Department using their online portal. The portal can be found at: https://vaccinate.oklahoma.gov/. Pre-registering will help keep you informed of public PODs available to you.
The Oklahoma City County Health Department (OCCHD) also created www.vaxokc.com to help Oklahoma County residents who are interested in receiving the vaccine find available clinics.
Return To Campus
We have said all along that as conditions related to COVID-19 change, OKCPS is committed to thoughtfully reconsidering our plans for how best to safely serve our students and families. So it should be no surprise that now, as we begin to see significant numbers of our school staff receiving vaccines, district leaders are beginning to evaluate if/when OKCPS might want to increase the number of days our students would be on campus for in-person instruction. However, we don’t want to make such an important decision without input from our families and staff. We care what you think and will soon be asking for feedback, so please be on the lookout for another quick survey early next week in your text messages or email.
Reminders & Supports
OKCPS Application Schools: Friday, March 5 is the deadline to submit applications for one of our five OKCPS Application Schools. Students interested in attending one these schools for the 2021-22 school year must complete an application online to be considered for admission. For more information or to start your application, please visit the district’s website at www.okcps.org/applicationschools.
2021-22 Course Selection: On Monday, March 1 students who are currently in grades 4 - 11 will begin selecting their courses for next school year. Please watch for additional information from your child’s school. In the meantime, check out our course selection in our 2021-22 Academic Planning Guide!
OKCPS Pre-K and Kindergarten Enrollment: Save the date! OKCPS will open Pre-K and new to OKCPS Kindergarten enrollment on April 5th through April 16th. Watch for additional information coming soon!
OKCPS International Travel Guidelines: With Spring Break approaching, OKCPS realizes that our families and staff may be considering travel outside the United States. OKCPS discourages international travel by our staff members, students and their families based on the current guidance outlined by the CDC. However, if you must travel, please note that the following:
- OKCPS employees and students will not be allowed to return to campus, in any capacity, until they have had a negative test (taken 3-5 days after returning from their trip) and self-quarantine for 7 days, OR until after they have completed the required full 10 day self-quarantine period.
- Employees should report international travel to their immediate supervisor in writing prior to traveling.
- Families should report travel for students by calling your child’s school. Once you provide the date that you returned home from your trip, the school can tell you when your child is eligible to return to in-person learning.
- Students can and are encouraged to participate in remote learning options during their self-quarantine period. Families should work with your child’s teacher and/or school regarding the remote learning options available.
- For more information on international travel during COVID-19, please review the CDC’s guidelines: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
WHAT IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS? If a child or staff member is showing any symptoms, is waiting on the result of a COVID-19 test or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must stay home and contact their school for guidance. Do not come to campus.
SUPPORTS: OKCPS remains committed to supporting you in every way possible. Below are some resources for families and staff:
- 58-STUDY (587-8839) for academic support and 587-HELP (4357) for technical support, and our Student Services Team is also available for emotional support and crisis intervention at 587-0489.
- OKCPS Employee Assistance Program is available to district staff for emotional support, legal and financial guidance and much more at no cost.
- 2-1-1 HeartLine is open 24/7 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.
- 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 the month of February and Black History Month come to an end, we encourage our OKCPS family to continue celebrating and recognizing the contributions of Black Americans. I’ve been so impressed with the creativity I’ve seen across our district as OKCPS students honored the rich culture and history of our nation.
As always, thank you for your ongoing support of OKCPS. I will update you again next Friday. In the meantime, stay warm, everyone.
Dr. Sean McDaniel
OKCPS Weekly COVID-19 Update
Today, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) indicates that the cases per 100,000 for Oklahoma County are 16.6, as compared to 20.9 last week, keeping Oklahoma County to the OSDE’s Orange 1 Alert Level. And, while we are pleased to see our case numbers declining, our entire community must remain vigilant and closely follow all safety protocols if we want our students to be able to remain in the classroom.
Each Friday, OKCPS reports the number of active “self-reported” positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of individuals who have been asked to isolate due to potential exposure to the virus.
“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.
OKCPS employees who work at a school building (with the exception of SNS staff) should report a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to your principal and/or your school’s contact tracer.
OKCPS employees who work at the Clara Luper Center for Educational Services, the Operations Center, Student Support Services at Westwood should report a positive COVID-19 test or exposure by calling the district’s COVID-19 line, (405) 587-CV19. SNS staff members should also use the CV19 line to report a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.
Families should report student positive test results for COVID-19 or exposure to a positive case by calling their child’s school. The school’s designated contact tracer will provide instructions related to isolating and receiving instruction remotely during the isolation period.
Additionally, if a child or staff member is showing any symptoms, is waiting on the result of a COVID-19 test or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must stay home and contact their school for guidance. Do not come to campus.