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Members, 

State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said today that Oklahoma’s public school students should not return to their physical classrooms for the remainder of the school year. Instead, she’ll ask the state Board of Education on Wednesday to waive instructional day and year requirements and allow school districts to serve students remotely beginning April 6. 

School districts can now begin virtually convening teachers to plan for the remote reopening of school. State education officials said the state board is expected to lift the part of its previous order that prohibited teacher professional development. 

We’ve also created a template letter your district can customize to communicate with families about the pending change for the remainder of the school year. You can download the letter here. 

Also, we will host a member call at 5 p.m. Wednesday to update you on the board meeting outcome and other updated information. We will send login information in a future email. 

Key points of Superintendent Hofmeister’s anticipated recommendations to the state board: 

  • School facilities would be closed for the remainder of the school year. 

  • Extracurricular activities would be canceled for the remainder of the school year. 

  • School would resume April 6, with districts offering remote or alternative learning opportunities in a manner to be decided by each district.  

  • The state Education Department is convening a working group to offer recommendations for districts related to remote/distance learning.  

  • The state board will be asked to waive requirements about the length of a school day. 

  • An approved waiver of instructional time requirements means schools would not be required to make up time missed so far due to the public health emergency. 

  • Local school boards would determine whether students have earned academic credit for coursework and whether students have met graduation requirements. SDE will encourage boards to liberally award credits to students who were on track to graduate before the public health emergency. 

  • The state board will be asked to approve spending flexibility for funds that are currently dedicated, including textbook, technology, and reading sufficiency act funding. 

  • Emergency certified teachers would be allowed to obtain a third year of emergency certification upon a local board request if the teacher is making progress toward certification. Gov. Stitt’s emergency executive order extends all current occupational licensure for as long as the order is in place and 14 days after its expiration/termination. 

  • High school juniors would not be required to take the U.S. History test. (The state Education Department has already received a federal waiver for other state standardized testing and federally required school report cards). 

  • Schools would use previous screening and diagnostic assessments completed before March 16 in determining Reading Sufficiency Act promotion and detention decisions. Reading proficiency team meetings should occur virtually. 

  • Accreditation, audit, physical education and some other academic requirements will be among the requested waivers. 

  • School board member continuing education requirements would be waived or delayed. 

  • The board will be asked to set March 1 as the date to calculate average daily attendance. 

  • The state Education Department is reviewing issues for students with special education needs and will be providing additional guidance. 

  • Efforts are under way to support career tech students who need to complete schooling/training. 

As you well know, the state and country are facing extraordinary economic challenges. State officials are in budget conversations regarding both the FY20 and FY 21 budgets. The federal government is also negotiating a stimulus package for states, which would include support for public education. We will keep you posted on those conversations and actions so local boards can make decisions based on factual information. 

I also wanted to let you know we've updated our open meetings act guidance to ensure you all know that despite CDC recommendations on crowd gatherings, the public must be allowed to attend school board meetings occurring at a physical  location. Please click here for the revised guidance.
 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the OSSBA team if we can be of help. I can be reached via email at shawnh@ossba.org or on my cell at 580.747.0179. 

Sincerely,

shawn signature


Shawn Hime, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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