Some Parents Frustrated With TPS Plan, Superintendent Confident In Decision

Tuesday, October 20th 2020, 6:13 pm
By: Jordan Tidwell

TULSA, Okla. -

The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education faces some criticism for its plan to bring students back to the classroom.

The Board decided to send older students back to in-person learning in January, and voted to send elementary school students back in November. 

The Board of Education said students in middle, junior high and high school will continue with distance learning until they go back to the classroom on January 4.

Related Story: TPS To Keep Middle, Jr. High, High School Students In Distance Learning Until January

"Research that shows that the younger students, there's no evidence that those students are those that are spreading the virus but that older students from a virus perspective, it's very similar to another adult," said Dr. Deborah Gist, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent.

Related Story: TPS Board Of Education Votes To Return Elementary Students To In-Person Classes 4-Days A Week

Dr. Gist said the district is working to make sure all students and teachers feel comfortable returning.

"It does, it has to do with everything from transportation from the moment we see them early in the morning, to the way in which they enter buildings, to the way in which they move through the school," she said. 

Christina Byrne is a parent in the district and said she was frustrated watching the recent board meetings.

"It's also very unclear to me right now, who is working for who, are we working for the citizens of Tulsa, and are we working for the citizens of Tulsa who need us most," Byrne said. 

Byrne said wants to hear from all voices in the Tulsa Public Schools communities and wants there to be equity with all students, teachers and staff members.

"What I think those decisions show is a very confused school board that needs to reach out to its constituents," Byrne said. 

Dr. Gist said she knows some families may not have the resources others do and the district has made sure students have access to laptops and internet as well as office hours for students. She said they are committed to keeping students successful and safe.

"I think the Board has taken this so seriously, has contemplated it, has considered it, has read, they are very well informed,” Dr. Gist said. “I feel confident in what we are going to implement here at Tulsa Public Schools.”