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10 out of 221 TPS Pre-K, Kindergarten Classrooms Moved to Distance Learning Since Returning

Matt Trotter

As of Monday night’s Tulsa Public Schools Board meeting, 10 out of 221 pre-K and kindergarten classes that returned last week had been moved to distance learning because of COVID-19 exposure.

Deputy Superintendent Paula Shannon said all of those exposures happened outside of schools and because a student came into contact with or lives with an adult who tested positive.

"Our adult behaviors matter mightily. If we want our kids in school and we want this to go away, we have to do hard things like not hang out together, not see those friends who we think it’s OK to see, like say, 'I can’t see my family right now even though I really want to,'" Shannon said.

While Tulsa Public Schools first through third graders came back in person this week, the second cohort to do so, Tulsa County is in the State Department of Education's red zone for new COVID cases with more than 50 per 100,000 population. At that level, they recommended districts consult local health officials about potentially closing schools.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said TPS has sought the Tulsa Health Department’s guidance on safety measures, but she is ready to act if things quickly get worse.

"If that’s the case, I would — and if I got different advice from the health professionals — I would immediately, and I have the authority, to make a change," Gist said.

TPS officials plan for pre-K through third-grade classes to continue in person this week, though the board plans to convene for a special meeting to review COVID data and take potential action.

TPS also has four athletics teams in quarantine at the moment.

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