Jenks Public Schools has decided to start the school year with distance learning and, to accommodate that, it's making changes to its school calendar.
At the Board of Education meeting on Monday night, the school district announced the semester's start date has been pushed back to August 24.
The school year will now be based on instructional hours instead of the number of days spent in session. The district is offering parents the choice of 3 learning options for their children, including distanced/in-person, with in-person being made available after further notice. The other options include virtual learning or blended learning.
Dr. Stacey Butterfield, superintendent of Jenks Public Schools, said her council consulted with the Oklahoma Board of Education and Oklahoma Board of Health before finalizing plans. S
he said this decision wasn't made lightly. The superintendent also wants all of Tulsa County to be in the COVID-19 yellow risk category for 2 consecutive weeks before the district pivots to in-person instruction for students who choose to do so.
Dr. Butterfield said you can't compare in person learning to virtual learning, and that the heart of their mission is to have students back in person as soon as it is safe to do so. She said that teachers are working diligently to enhance their lesson plans and provide students an outstanding education, no matter how the instruction is facilitated.
"If you had suggested that in my career that I would be recommending a school year to begin like this, never would have imagined," said Dr. Butterfield. "But it is where we are."
The council said students in 7th grade or higher who want to continue with extracurricular activities like athletics or orchestra will have the option to safely do so this semester. The district is still working on a definitive plan for the younger students.