Oklahoma City Public Schools Board declares state of emergency

The move gives Superintendent Sean McDaniel emergency powers to fight COVID-19

  • Robby Korth

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel at a January press conference.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel was granted emergency powers as the district forms a plan to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a meeting Tuesday morning, the Board of Education declared a state of emergency and discussed how the district would respond to long-term closures.

Schools are closed until at least April 6 because of a move by the State’s Board of Education. McDaniel said the district would have to get creative now and in the future to fight the coronavirus threat.

“This is happening so rapidly, even by the hour,” McDaniel said. 

McDaniel said making sure employees are paid and students are fed are two of the district’s primary issues. 

Teachers will continue to be paid throughout any closures. Hourly workers, McDaniel said, will likely be granted some extended emergency leave and will have to do some work throughout the process through cleaning and getting students food.

Oklahoma City students are fed breakfast and lunch daily during the week. In the two weeks after Spring Break, McDaniel said the district will look at finding ways to feed students either in public parks via bus or at elementary schools. OKCPS took similar measures during the 2018 teacher walkout to make sure students were fed.

Moving forward, the most important decision district leaders will have to consider is beyond April 6, McDaniel said. And it has to do with actually educating students.

“We’ll have to revisit what does instruction look like?” McDaniel said. “How do we take care of our most vulnerable kids?”