Following Child's COVID Death, Hofmeister Says Schools Won't Reopen Unless Oklahomans Wear Masks

Jul 13, 2020

Following the state's first known coronavirus-related death of a child, the head of the Oklahoma State Department of Education said Sunday that schools will not be able to reopen unless Oklahomans do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“Students need to learn. We want schools to reopen this fall, but for that to happen, it is critical that Oklahomans take decisive actions now to mitigate spread of the virus," said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, in a statement.

"Wearing a mask around other people is a small sacrifice for the sake of literally saving lives. We owe it to our children, teachers and staff for them to be able to go to school knowing that strong safeguards are in place for their safety and well-being.”

Hofmeister has previously said that a mandatory mask policy is a possibility for schools that do reopen.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said last week that he was strongly encouraging Hofmeister and the state's school district to return to in-person instruction. The Trump administration has threatened to limit or withhold funding to schools that remain online-only due to the pandemic.