Edmond Schools approve blended learning plan, Aug. 20 start date
The plan is subject to change depending upon whether COVID-19 worsens.
Edmond Public Schools has also issued a new transportation schedule, listing varied start times due to COVID-19 distancing efforts.
“My recommendation would be to begin school following the State Department of Education guidelines, under the Return to School safety protocol,” stated Superintendent Bret Towne.
This recommendation pushes the start date back to Aug. 20 to allow additional time to prepare and train.
“This would mean that Edmond would start with an AB blended schedule in accordance with those guidelines,” Towne stated.
Under the AB Blended Learning model, students will be assigned to Group A or Group B, with Group A at school on Mondays and Tuesdays and Group B receiving instruction at home through alternative means, according to a graphic presented by Towne.
Group A will be home on Thursdays and Fridays while Group B is at school. Wednesdays, both groups are home to allow for deep-cleaning of the school and other staff work.
Efforts will be made to match family members within groups.
Towne stated that Edmond Public Schools “will monitor the state health department data pertaining to COVID-1 rates per hundred thousand.”
“We would change this education delivery model if there was a persistent trend, either rising or descending, throughout the year based upon the severity of the virus in the community,” Towne stated.
Other possible educational delivery models in the event of changing COVID-19 conditions, include traditional instruction, remote instruction in which students learn at home and “Virtual Edmond,” in which the schools provide educational materials to parents, according to the presentation.
“We’ll be giving parents ample amount of time to make a change, if we needed to make a change one way or the other,” Towne stated.
“We’re not [going to] take moving from the level we’re starting at very lightly, because we know that once you get into that routine, and once you have patterns established, and support, that you need to be able to count on that as your kids do,” Towne added.
Towne assured parents “we’re going to work with you as best we can.”
“We’re going to implement the safety protocols that we can to the highest degree, and any model we work in, we’re going to do what we have to do to protect our staff,” Towne stated.
Much of the discussion between board members and the superintendent prior to the vote focused on Edmond Public Schools COVID-19 preparedness. Towne assured the board of the availability of personal protective equipment, disinfecting procedures, staff training and a medical technician at each school, along with several other measures including disinfecting buses at least once per day.
The board approved most of Edmond’s reopening plan at a special meeting on July 23, but tabled it in part due to the State School Board meeting occurring at the same time.
Tonight’s vote finalizes the plan.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for the board is Aug. 3 at 6 p.m.