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Broken Arrow Public Schools Delays Start 2 Weeks; District 'Monitoring COVID-19 Data'


The start date for Broken Arrow Public Schools has been pushed back from Aug. 19 to Sept. 3 as district officials keep an eye on local coronavirus infection rates and other data.

Pre-K's start has been delayed from Aug. 21 to Sept. 8.

"We will utilize the extra two weeks before school starts to focus on protocol, planning and preparation," Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Janet Vinson said in a statement. "During this time, district administrators and staff will receive additional training on proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques; will be able to adjust and plan for a possible staggered schedule or distance learning situation, should the need arise; and to prepare our Virtual Academy for the 5,000-plus students who have already enrolled in the program."

BAPS has also pushed back the deadline for enrollment in their Virtual Academy. Families now have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 19.

On July 29, the BAPS Board voted unanimously for an in-person return to school on Aug. 19. The plan called for mandatory face coverings for all students in third grade and up, and schools were to base restrictions on weekly data within district boundaries from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Individual schools would have shut down if infections were confirmed in 30% of classrooms.

At the July meeting, Vinson called the plan the best the district had.

"Everyone claims to be an expert. There's no experts in coronavirus," Vinson said.

BAPS is Oklahoma's sixth-largest district by enrollment, with 19,436 students, according to State Department of Education data.

The state's two largest districts, Oklahoma City and Tulsa public schools, have delayed in-person returns utnil at least November, opting to start all students on distance learning plans.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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