Owasso Public Schools announces return to classrooms for students

VIDEO: Owasso students to return to classrooms

OWASSO, Okla. — Owasso Public Schools announced Friday they will have students returning to schools on Sept. 17.

In a letter posted from Owasso Superintendent Amy Fichtner, she says the district saw Tulsa County had reached a point in the recent COVID-19 data to allow students to return.

“What I can tell you is that we have reached a point in the data and trends for Tulsa County and the Owasso community that is similar to where we were in mid-July, when our intention was that we would convene in our physical classrooms,” Fichtner says.

Content Continues Below

“We will utilize the processes and procedures that were constructed this summer and you can find our Reference Sheet for Families here with more information.”

Masks will be required for all grades both on a school bus and in the school building.

Students in Pre-K through 2nd grade should expect to take more frequent mask breaks, due to their ages, than those students in 3rd through 12th grades.

“As we did when we made the initial move to Pivot to Home, this decision comes as a result of significant study of COVID-19 data and trends in our area, along with guidance and collaboration with school leaders, health agencies and our Board of Education,” Fichtner says.

Parents will still have the option to choose which mode of instruction they want for their students at the quarter breaks in the school year or at the time when the district moves back to the physical classroom.

You can read the superintendent’s full letter here:

September 4, 2020

Owasso Parents,

I want to start this letter with gratitude and appreciation for you and all of our OPS teachers. Through this time of Pivot to Home, I believe that the partnership between parents and their child’s educators has grown stronger than ever before. Our teachers have worked very hard to make the transition from the physical classroom to a Google Classroom as seamless as possible, and we are experiencing the fruits of that labor with the student/parent engagement through Pivot to Home. Thank you again for that partnership, which we hope will only continue to grow stronger as your child progresses through our schools.

We have said in the past, and we continue to believe, that the best learning experience for a child occurs in a physical classroom. Pivot to Home is something that we are able to utilize on short notice, if needed, to continue to educate our students while also keeping students and staff as safe as possible during this season of COVID-19.

In late July and early August, a spike in new COVID-19 cases occurred, which drove our decision to begin school in the Pivot to Home / Virtual Learning mode rather than bringing students back into our physical classrooms. Our team of district leaders has continued to study data and trends related to COVID-19 since that time. We have been pleased to watch each week as the trend of new cases in Tulsa County decreased and stabilized following that late July/early August spike.

The August 4th communication that notified you of our plans to start the year in Pivot to Home also stated that we would not return to the physical classroom until we saw at least two consecutive weeks for Tulsa County with a Yellow or Green designation. As we continue to monitor trends on a daily basis, it is becoming more and more apparent that the Yellow or Green tier may not occur for an extended period of time and that initial guideline we provided may now be unrealistic.

I wish there were magic numbers that I could give to you to say that when we hit a certain mark, we are absolutely in school and another mark that would say we are absolutely out of school. This time of COVID-19 has not afforded us those clear-cut answers that leaders in business, education and everything in between are searching for.

What I can tell you is that we have reached a point in the data and trends for Tulsa County and the Owasso community that is similar to where we were in mid-July, when our intention was that we would convene in our physical classrooms. Therefore, I want to inform you of our decision to reopen our physical school buildings to students beginning on Thursday, September 17. We will utilize the processes and procedures that were constructed this summer and you can find our Reference Sheet for Families here with more information. Masks will be required for all grades both on a school bus and in the school building. Students in Pre-K through 2nd grade should expect to take more frequent mask breaks, due to their ages, than those students in 3rd through 12th grades.

As we did when we made the initial move to Pivot to Home, this decision comes as a result of significant study of COVID-19 data and trends in our area, along with guidance and collaboration with school leaders, health agencies and our Board of Education.

While we are excited to have students return to our classrooms, it is important to note that Pivot to Home could still be utilized during this school year for an individual class, a grade level at a certain building, an entire building or even the district as a whole, if necessary. We will do all that we can to give parents ample time to make adjustments to their child care and routine, however it is imperative that you have a backup plan ready in the event that we must Pivot to Home again.

As we mentioned on August 4, parents will have the option to choose which mode of instruction they want for their students at the quarter breaks in the school year or at the time when we move back to the physical classroom. Please read this information carefully and adhere to the deadlines listed if you wish to change the method of instruction for your students.

If your child is currently receiving instruction through Pivot to Home and:

  • You would like your student to return to the physical classroom on September 17, there is nothing further that you need to do. Your child will report to school on September 17 with the schedule that has already been provided by your child’s school. Should your child’s schedule be altered while we balance classrooms as a result of students moving from Acellus or Edgenuity to the physical classroom, you will be notified.
  • You would like your student to be enrolled in Acellus or Edgenuity rather than report to your child’s physical school, please fill out the respective form below by 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9. You will receive communication from the virtual learning administrators with important information including class schedule, log in information, etc., in the days following September 9.• Acellus (elementary) Enrollment FormEdgenuity (secondary) Enrollment Form

If your child is currently receiving instruction through Acellus (elementary) or Edgenuity (secondary) and:

  • You would like your student to remain receiving instruction through Acellus or Edgenuity, there is nothing further that you need to do. Your student will continue to progress through the curriculum as they have been since August 24.
  • You would like for your student to return to the physical classroom, please fill out the respective form below by 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9. You will be contacted by your school in the days following September 9 with your child’s class schedule and your child will report to school on Thursday, September 17.• Acellus (elementary) Opt-Out FormEdgenuity (secondary) Opt-Out Form

Your child’s school will follow up in the coming week with information specific to that school site. Please reach out to your child’s school should you have any questions regarding this transition period.

Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding. No matter the method of instruction, we will continue to work together toward the best possible backdrop for educating our community’s students together.

Respectfully,

Amy Fichtner

Superintendent

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.