State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister leads the Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting last week to vote on closing schools for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester. The closures were necessitated to combat COVID-19.

Courtesy Oklahoma State Department of Education

Oklahoma schools will close for rest of semester, moving classes online

Wednesday meeting lays out plan districts must take up to move to distance education.

  • Robby Korth

Courtesy Oklahoma State Department of Education

The Oklahoma State Board of Education met Wednesday to vote on closing schools for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Oklahoma schools will remain shuttered for the spring 2020 semester to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to close schools and implement a distance education program.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said that school districts will have until April 6 to submit a plan 

“Our districts have begun planning their alternative delivery methods to support student learning as they prepare to reconnect students with their teachers in adaptive ways,” she said in the statement.

“We are determined to support our Pre-K through high school students as well as English learners, special education students and those who need reinforced skills or additional enrichment. We recognize this reality will present challenges for many families and districts, but these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures. This coordinated, swift and thoughtful action will help safeguard the health and well-being of our communities, students and professionals in public schools. We must do absolutely everything in our power to reduce transmission of coronavirus.”

Schools will have to submit their plans and will not be allowed to suspend instruction for the remainder of the semester.

The board also included a number of waivers to ease the transition to distance education.

  • Altering the school calendar.
  • Allowing flexible uses of textbook funds.
  • Waiving a six-hour requirement for instructional days.
  • Waiving requirements on what general funds should be spent on.
  • Waiving physical education requirements.
  • Amending teacher certificates if tests aren’t available.
  • Visiting charter school contracts.

The state has already announced that spring assessment tests are suspended. That means the statewide school report cards will also be suspended for the 2019-20 school year.