The Bixby school district said two grades are learning from home this week because nearly 15% of the district’s students and staff are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.
Bixby Superintendent Rob Miller said one of the reasons they've had to switch two grades to distance learning is because they simply don't have enough substitute teachers.
For Bixby parents, emails and updates from the district's superintendent have become routine this school year.
“Parents should know even if they disagree with the rationale behind it they should understand how these decisions were made and they weren’t just arbitrary or flippant," said Bixby Superintendent Rob Miller.
Miller said the district analyzes COVID-19 data and considers all resources available before sending kids home to learn, even if it's just a few individual classes.
“So, we’re actually parsing it down to can we manage by sending one class, one teacher to distance learning, where the teacher may be at home or at school and does that instruction with students or maybe one grade level," said Miller.
Miller recently sent out a letter to parents letting them know nearly 15% of students and staff were at home quarantining.
"The biggest factor right now is making sure that we can put a qualified adult in every single classroom, and if we can’t we are kind of in this middle ground where we are trying not to make decisions that make move an entire school to distance learning," said Miller.
He said throughout the school year, they've been able to get substitute teachers, but right now they have 17 openings for subs. He's hoping by temporarily raising the pay, they can fill those spots, which means more students learning in person.
“It’s just really challenging. We’ve got these two competing goals. The first one is keeping students in school that we all agree is something we all aspire to do and then you’ve got this other side which is keeping people healthy and well," said Miller.
Bixby ninth graders should be back in the classroom on Thursday and fifth graders will be back to in person learning next week.