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Owasso Public Schools Ending At-Home Learning Early, Students to Return Sept. 17

Owasso Public Schools is the latest district to pull the plug on distance learning ahead of schedule.

The district announced Friday students will return to the classroom Sept. 17.

Officials decided last month to start the year with at-home learning until Tulsa County spent two consecutive weeks at yellow or green on a color-coded alert system. That has not happened yet.

A group of parents protested and petitioned against that decision, and the district now says it may be unrealistic to go by those triggers.

Owasso Superintendent Amy Fichtner said kids that come back will be asked to follow the three "W’s" — washing hands frequently, wearing masks and watching their distance. Masks will be required for students and employees at school and on buses.

"We have a hunger to be together and to congregate, but we have to be respectful of each other’s space. Rest assured, especially for our youngest children, there will be great patience in teaching these skills," Fichtner said.

Fichtner said in order for an in-person return to work, parents must keep their kids at home if they’re feeling sick.

"They will not be penalized academically. They will not be held back. They will not miss out academically.  As we return, we want to return for good, but it will take the help of our entire community for this to be accomplished," Fichtner said.

Parents can still choose for their kids to stay home, but they must enroll in Owasso’s virtual learning program by Sept. 9 if they have not done so already. Parents who want to switch from virtual learning to in-person instruction can do so by the same deadline.

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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