Dear BPS Families,
Now that all of our students are back, the district is starting to experience an escalation of positive cases in our schools. We have added 51 confirmed cases since last Friday. We are also beginning to see greater evidence of spread between individuals in classrooms and grades, something that seems to be more pronounced with the Delta variant than with last year’s COVID cases. In short, our early experience mirrors the research that this variant seems to be more contagious.
As we begin to identify these potential “hotspots” within our district, we are working diligently to reduce the potential for spread between individuals, keep our students and staff members safe, and enhance our ability to maintain in-person instruction.
This is where we need everyone’s help. We all recognize that in-person learning, extracurricular activities, and social interactions are important components of the educational experience. We are focused on keeping students and employees in school and avoid the need to transition to distance learning. As the Delta variant continues to cause positive case numbers to rise in our school community, we are respectfully asking that families strongly consider sending their student(s) to school in a mask. This expectation also extends to our teachers and staff whenever they are in close contact with children and each other. This request is temporary and nonmandatory, yet it is requested to help us weather this most recent outbreak and maintain normal school operations as long as we can.
I understand the divisive nature of this issue. We are all growing weary of reading, hearing, and talking about COVID-19. Nobody enjoys wearing a mask - particularly in late August in Oklahoma. Despite the differing opinions relative to masks, we all share a common goal: to maintain in-person instruction safely. What we know is that state and local health departments and the CDC recommend vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
We did receive some good news Wednesday from the Tulsa Health Department relative to COVID case counts. For the first time since the latest surge began in early July, the county saw a decrease in case counts, from 2,749 last week to 2,412 now. Hospitalizations also showed a slight decrease of 47 active patients from a week ago.
It remains to be seen whether this data represents the start of a downward trend or is just a temporary decline. Certainly, the reopening of schools across Tulsa County may affect these numbers over the next few weeks. At the same time, I believe that the increasing number of individuals in our community following precautions such as masking in public spaces and getting vaccinated will continue to help move us through this latest spike in cases.
One of the most positive qualities of the Bixby community is the strong support of our school system, teachers, and children. We love having students back in our classrooms and are determined to do all that is possible to keep our schools operating normally. As always, we appreciate your help and support.