Some TPS Parents 'Scrambling' To Plan for 2020-21 School Year

Tuesday, July 7th 2020, 6:28 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

TULSA, Okla. -

With a new school year just weeks away, districts across Green Country have a lot of decisions to make about how the schedule will look for students and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tulsa Public Schools said it won't make a decision until August about what kind of schedule to follow, whether it is in-person learning, a mix of in-person and distance learning, or only distance learning. TPS said its decision will be made with guidance from the Tulsa Health Department.

"Everyone is kind of scrambling to figure out what to do,” Jade Park said. Park is a member of the Henry Zarrow International Elementary School PTA.

No matter what plan the district goes with, the district said Wednesdays will serve as a distance learning day. The hybrid plan takes it one step further, and breaks students up into "A" or "B" groups to determine which two days a week they will go into their schools.

Park has four children and works from home part-time. She said she'll be able to adjust her schedule to work around whatever decision is made.

"I know a lot of parents aren't that fortunate and just can't do that,” she said.

While the district said Wednesdays will be used to clean the schools, Park said there are concerns about students picking up germs somewhere else.

"Their kids are gonna be going to a daycare or some other care facility, so that just exposes them to a whole other group of people every week,” Park said.

Hoover Elementary School PTA Vice President Wendy Johnson said after talking with parents throughout TPS, there are several concerns being discussed. One concern Johnson mentioned in an email to News On 6 was, “My child will fall behind. Both parents work and cannot teach and help their child during the day.” Another concern Johnson listed was, “Uniforms shouldn't be required because these may be seen as an extra expense that may possibly not even be needed this year if distance learning ends up happening more than just Wednesdays.” Johnson also said a concern among TPS parents is, “Instead of a whole day being assigned to clean. Why not clean more throughout the day, then add more night staff to clean instead of one or two janitors on a night shift double that and clean at night.” Johnson said parents are also wondering if daycares would be required to help teach and make sure children are doing their schoolwork while in their care.

TPS is offering what it is calling "Tulsa Virtual Academy" for students and families who are at high-risk for infection or who would rather keep their children home.

Union Public Schools said it is still working on details but will likely give families two options: in person learning or virtual learning. Final recommendations will be made to the school board Monday July 13.

Jenks Public Schools said that is the same date it is looking at, adding the district doesn't think its options will end up being too different from other districts in the area.

Bixby Public Schools said it plans to offer in-person learning, but will also provide virtual learning that parents can enroll their children in. The district said more details will be available July 20th.