TPS Decides To Move All Students Back To Distance Learning

Monday, November 30th 2020, 9:17 pm
By: Amy Kauffman

TULSA, Okla. -

Tulsa Public Schools is sending all students back to distance learning starting on Wednesday. This shift includes Pre-K through 3rd grade students and students with special needs.

Tulsa Public School leaders said the Tulsa Health Department is anticipating a surge in cases in the coming weeks due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, so they advised the district to make this switch.

"It’s been fun, and my teacher explains it [better] in class than on the computer,” said Kate Whipple, a third-grade student at Eisenhower.

Her younger sister, Eloise Whipple, said she was so excited to see her friends. Their mom, Dana Whipple, said she's seen a big change since her daughters went back to in person learning.

"They've been happy to learn, which they haven't really been happy to learn since March,” said Dana Whipple. 

Tulsa Public Schools said due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and a potential spike, the Tulsa Health Department advised them to go back to learning from home.

Superintendent Deborah Gist said Dr. Bruce Dart told her it would be extremely risky to move forward with in person learning.

"I'm confident this goes without saying, but this is not what I wanted," said Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist.

District leaders said there are 27 positive cases of COVID-19 in the district: 19 adults and eight students. The district also said 156 people are in quarantine due to a close contact exposure.

"It’s about 50 employees and about 100 students," said TPS Chief Operations Officer, Jorge Robles.

"That’s a big number 50 employees and the fact that we are only filling 47% of subs,” said District 5 School Board Member John Croisant.

District leaders said in order to head back to the classroom, they will also need to grow their substitute teacher list.

It’s something Whipple said she's already signed up to do, because she wants to see her daughters back in the classroom soon.

"It is astounding the difference that a week and two weeks has made for my kids and I am a little frustrated to see that go," said Whipple.

Tulsa Public Schools hopes to bring all students back to in person learning on January 4. Their next school board meeting is scheduled for December 7.