September 21, 2020
See here for further clarification on isolation, quarantine and district protocols.
September 18, 2020
BPS Families and Staff,
As we finish our second full week of regular, in-person instruction for students, I would like to provide a quick update relative to our district’s current COVID-19 status.
Generally speaking, I believe the district is doing very well in controlling the transmission of COVID-19 in our schools. We have accomplished this by continuing to require the wearing of masks for all students and staff, physically distancing when feasible, sanitizing hard surfaces multiple times a day, and by acting quickly to quarantine individuals who have been in close contact with people who have tested positive. The decision to send students home is distressing to all of us. We understand the enormous strain this can cause for many families. However, until the local and state COVID numbers stabilize at much lower levels, this remains an essential piece of our mitigation efforts.
For those who are monitoring the numbers of active and cumulative COVID cases on our webpage, www.bixbyps.org/covid-data, we have added new information today. These additional charts provide detailed access for you to monitor the number of students affected at each site, by category. This expands the picture from a simple number of cases to a more descriptive reflection of the true impact of COVID on our schools.
For example, as of 4 p.m. today, the district has nine active COVID cases spread across five campuses. Six are students - each of which has been isolated at home. Referring to the charts, these students are reflected in the isolated column of the appropriate site chart. Students who have been deemed in close contact with a positive individual (fellow student or staff member), are also being sent home for a 14-day quarantine period. You can find these figures in the next column of the chart. For both isolations and quarantines, we are strictly adhering to CDC guidance and Tulsa County Health Department (TCHD) requirements in terms of definitions, timelines, and communication protocols.
On a few occasions, we have also assigned some smaller groups of students to distance learning for a period of time, primarily in response to challenges with staffing and/or class coverage. We strive to minimize these situations, yet it is sometimes the best option if consistent instructional delivery is difficult due to a shortage of teachers or substitutes.
As you can decipher from these charts, even with only nine active cases in Bixby Schools, just over 200 students are presently impacted, attendance-wise, through their connection with one of these cases. While we would like this number to be much lower, it still reflects only 3% of our total student population. To look at this in reverse, approximately 97% of BPS students are NOT currently impacted by this virus.
One area we are working to improve is related to better serving students (and families) who are quarantined from their classes. Since this group may only represent a portion of a teacher’s classroom, regular instruction is continuing during the students’ absences. Our revised distance learning model requires the teacher to interact with students through Canvas or Google Meets; therefore, it is very difficult for a teacher to instruct students in a physical classroom while also connecting with students online.
In response, several of our schools have implemented additional online tutoring opportunities and are evaluating the possibility of recording some lessons for students at home. I can say confidently that our teachers are working very hard to fill this gap so students do not fall behind their peers. I would encourage any families who may be struggling due to this scenario to communicate directly with your child’s teacher or school administrator to evaluate options to support your child.
Finally, I want to remind everyone of the federal Child Nutrition Waiver which now permits ALL students to access breakfast and lunch FREE of charge through December 31. This does not include bottled drinks or a la carte items on the serving line, just the scheduled meals. You can access site menus HERE. Any funds you have already deposited to your child’s meal accounts will remain in those accounts for use later in the year.
As always, we appreciate your continued support and trust in our district. I wish you and your families a restful weekend. The dry, cooler temperatures are certainly a nice respite from the warm, muggy weeks we experienced at the start of school. We will enjoy it while we can.