Madill, Kingston educators planning for new normal
A pair of decisions by the Oklahoma State Board of Education (OSBE) and Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) have left local schools scrambling to plan for the reminder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Due to the unchartered territory of the coronavirus pandemic, both organizations took steps to either move education activities offsite or cancel them all together.
The OSBE met March 25 via teleconference and moved to suspend all in-school instruction and extracurricular activities and close through the end of the school year. As part of this action, state superintendent Janet Barresi said the academic year for schools will end between May 8 and May 15.
The group also established a period now until April 6 for local school districts to “prepare for and begin distance learning; preparations may include immediately convening staff development, consistent with the intent and purposes of this Order.”
Meanwhile, the OSSAA moved to cancel all remaining sports and extracurricular activities for the 2019-2020 school year at its March 26 meeting.
The OSSAA released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
“In conjunction with this decision the OSSAA Board voted unanimously, at the March 26, 2020 Teleconference Board Meeting, to cancel the State Basketball Tournament for Classes 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A; additionally, all spring activities have been cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
“For the purpose of all OSSAA member school activities, all school personnel, including certified, adjunct or volunteer coaches, as well as teachers, directors, or instructors are prohibited from engaging in any type of OSSAA member school activity involving secondary students; no practice, instruction, training, weight lifting, tryouts, competition or travel is permitted.
“SUMMER TIME ACTIVITIES: Until further notice, no OSSAA member school activities will be permitted. The timeline for the beginning of summer activities will be provided to member schools at a time when CDC recommendations as well as State and Local government recommendations allow for safe participation.”
Administrators with both Madill Public Schools and Kingston Public Schools were quick to respond to the breaking news via their respective Facebook pages.
On the Madill Public Schools Facebook page, the follow statement was released.
“Today the State Department determined that students should not return to their classrooms. However, we miss them terribly and are working diligently to provide our students with the best continuous learning at home with the support of their teachers, counselors, administrators and parents. We will be passing down more information before Monday, April 6. We want to encourage you to enjoy the sunshine and check out parental resources on the website.”
Madill Superintendent Larry Case said Thursday that the district’s leadership was holding meetings throughout the day to plan next steps.
Case anticipated having more information available to parents and students in the coming days.
Likewise, Kingston Public Schools superintendent Brian Brister said his district is also planning for teaching remotely.
Kingston Public Schools had a pair of posts about future planning.
The first from March 25 requested parents fill out a technology survey since the district is determining remote learning capacity.
“The State Department of Education has suspended school for the remainder of the year and has requested that schools provide Distance Learning for our students.
“In order for our schools to best serve our students moving forward, we are asking our parents and guardians to fill out a brief survey on our website. Please take survey by Friday @ Noon.
Please click the link below to be taken to the survey.
The second KPS post from March 26 advised that plans are pending for various items.
“At some point we will have a plan in place for students to turn in books, and be able to clean out their lockers. We still plan on having a graduation ceremony, we just don't know a date yet. Refunds will be given at some point for Prom, Camp Goddard, Cheer Tryouts, etc. We will keep you updated on any changes.”
Both Case and Brister planned on providing additional information to The Madill Record on Friday, March 27 as their districts’ plans become clearer. This story will be updated as new information is received.