July 23, 2020|
“It’s about bottom up, not top down”
“OKLAHOMA CITY — A deeply divided state school board refused Thursday to mandate statewide safety requirements for districts when they reopen next month.
Instead, the state Board of Education adopted a series of measures that they “strongly” recommended districts embrace, leaving the door open for a piecemeal approach that could widely vary from one district to the next amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic in Oklahoma.
Saying they supported local control rather than state mandates, the board voted 4-3 against mandating face coverings in schools that are experiencing widespread community spread of COVID-19.
The majority of board members also decided individual districts should determine when it is safe to hold in-person classes, allow contact sports and hold public gatherings on school grounds and whether to allow visitors on campus.
“It’s about bottom up, not top down,” said Estela Hernandez, a board member. “It’s about trusting our local boards to do what they’re intended to do.””