Broken Arrow students head back to school Thursday for in-person learning, with about 25% of the student population opting for virtual learning instead.
A few weeks ago News On 6 reported 33 staff members had tested positive. The district did not provide information that indicated whether those staff members have recovered and will be back at school.
Still, the district said it is ready to have kids back in the classroom.
Just hours away from the first day of school, Marla Warwick's classroom is ready for 19 first graders to step inside. Six-year-old Jackson Snider stopped by for a meet the teacher event and found his desk in preparation for tomorrow.
It's his teacher's 20th year with the district. But it's everyone's first year at the brand new Rosewood Elementary.
"I'm very confident and comfortable about coming back tomorrow,” Warwick said.
Four students will sit at each table in her classroom, and when it's time to gather on the floor, students will sit on every other dot they see.
"It's just gonna be an atmosphere where we take their safety and their health at the highest priority possible,” BA Public Relations Director Adam Foreman said.
Foreman said 5,000 students are enrolled in the Virtual Academy. There are just over 19,000 students in Broken Arrow Public Schools.
"We're also excited for the kids that are going back in person because that's gonna be able to create even more social distancing at the school sites with those kids, you know, removed,” Foreman said.
Warwick's message heading into the first day is full of optimism, with a focus on learning together.
"I don't want it to be something the kids are scared,” she said. “I don’t want them to be overly cautious. I want them to be six and seven-year-olds. And enjoy school and not think about the outside world when we're in our classroom. But to be thinking about how exciting this is to be here together."
Masks are required for 3rd through 12th graders, and strongly encouraged for students in the younger grades. The district has planned for distance learning days on the first Monday of each month.