Luther—August comes quickly. The coronavirus crisis is wrecking havoc on back to school plans for a new school year.
In Luther, a brief survey was sent to parents asking about options on a traditional return, an online option or a blended one.
There is much to consider. Masks or no masks, social distancing within classrooms and in the halls, teachers and students in high risk groups. The Facebook group, Oklahoma Edvocates, is active with concerns by teachers returning to school. This group started back during the Teacher Walkout of 2018. The group has a new leader, after their former leader, a Stillwater teacher, was arrested earlier this year.
Teachers on the page expressed concerns about their working conditions.
Meanwhile, parents are also voicing their concerns. Concerns about wearing masks, not wearing them, virtual school, lunches, blended, activities, and, athletics.
At the June 29, Luther Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Barry Gunn said planning around Covid-19 is the district’s focus for the 2020-21 school year. He said about 38 no touch thermometers have been purchased and all buildings have hand sanitizers of hand sanitizers are arriving. All buildings will have them. He said 1,000 paper masks were purchased for emergencies. He said his recommendation is to not require masks. At this point, Gunn said, masks would be optional for students and teachers.
Gunn said they are preparing for the unknown. He said he is working on the “Luther Virtual Academy” as well as the traditional model, and a blended version of the two. At the June 29 meeting, he said FFA, Band, athletics will be available. He said they are working on an application process for a virtual academy and does not want the “ping-pong effect” for students coming in and out. He said they will ask students who choose virtual to commit for a marking period, or semester.
“I don’t mind battling Epic Charter schools for students,” he said adding he thinks Luther does a better job. It’s no wonder, school districts get funding based on their enrollment.
Local home school parents and leaders say they have been receiving lots of inquiries about home educating in the fall, particularly as the coronavirus crisis brings many unknowns.
Online public schools are also an option, including Epic Charter Schools and others.
As a new week begins, coronavirus numbers increase including the first death of a child in Oklahoma, and parents explore their options, one suggestion came from Oklahoma doctor Noel Williams who provides daily regular covid-19 analysis. He said during to mitigate risk, home schooling is an option to avoid conflict with people who make recommendations and manage large groups of people.
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