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Plans to Reopen Schools Should Include Teacher, ESP Input

OEA's Statement on SDE's "Return to Learn" Document

Cleaning supplies in front of a blue wallThe State Department of Education today released Return to Learn Oklahoma: A Framework for Reopening Schools, which provides guidance on how to start school next fall in the midst of the pandemic.

According to the SDE, the framework is built on four categories – School Operations, Academics and Growth, Whole Child and Family Supports, and School Personnel. Each section includes a checklist of actions and considerations districts can review to produce optimal safety and learning outcomes, given the challenges that may arise from COVID-19.

The document was built with guidance from health officials, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oklahoma State Department of Health and others.

“It is our hope that Return to Learn Oklahoma will be a valuable tool as educators work to make decisions that are in the best interest of their students,” said Supt. Joy Hofmeister. 

The Oklahoma Education Association agrees.

“Coming back to school safely has to be our priority for our students and staff and we know that may look differently across the state. It will be important that districts include teachers and support professionals in discussions on how to hold school safely next fall,” said OEA President Alicia Priest. “Afterall, we will be implementing the safety protocols and making sure our students have a safe learning environment. We are the experts on how children learn and we will be right there with them whether in person or through distance learning.

“OEA is polling our members now about how best to return to school safely. As soon as we compile the responses, we will be sharing the survey results with Supt. Hofmeister and our members.”

The OEA School Safety and Distance Learning Survey is open through 5 p.m. June 9.