This evening, the Tulsa Board of Education approved a new calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. The school year for students will begin on Monday, August 31, 2020 and end on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. This calendar includes all-district distance learning days on Wednesdays. This means that all students would participate in distance learning, and some students would have an opportunity for additional in-person tutoring.
“We know that this is a big change, and it is an important one,” said Superintendent Deborah A. Gist. “It provides time for custodians to clean and sanitize classrooms mid-week and for teachers to engage in planning, team collaboration, and professional learning. These distance learning days will also give schools the flexibility they need to provide academic support for those students who need it most.”
Over the next six weeks, Tulsa Public Schools will work with community partners to help support families with resources for in-home learning. The district will also continue to provide breakfast and lunch meal service on distance learning days.
Gist said: “We recognize the need for child care on Wednesdays and will be working with local community-based organizations, child care, and faith-based organizations to support our families.”
While the Board of Education approved the change to the 2020-2021 school year calendar, the district is planning for a range of scheduling options that would be implemented as needed based on recommendations from local health professionals: learning in-person, a mix of in-person and distance learning, and distance-only learning. The 2020-2021 calendar was designed to allow for possible shifts between in-person and distance learning based on rates of COVID-19 infection in the community throughout the year.
“We will teach and learn together in person as much as possible next year based on current guidance from the Tulsa Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Gist. “While we will be prepared and hope to have our students back in person all year, we may need to shift to distance learning or to a mix of in-person and distance learning. Our focus is on keeping students and teachers safe, which means planning for the flexibility we may need given continued rates of COVID-19 infection in our city.”
The district also plans to offer a virtual school option – called TPS Virtual Academy – for students and families who are at high-risk for infection or who would prefer to keep their children home. Students in the virtual academy will continue to be students in their current schools, but will complete their studies virtually. If families choose this option, they will have the opportunity to return to in-person learning if their preference changes.
The decision about which type of schedule students and teachers will use will be finalized in early August based on guidance from the Tulsa Health Department. Gist said: “Our team is working tirelessly to prepare our schools to safely welcome your children back to school!”
Visit www.tulsaschools.org/calendar to find the 2020-2021 school calendar that includes breaks.
Visit www.tulsaschools.org/tpsvirtual for more information on TPS Virtual Academy.
Visit www.tulsaschools.org/back2school for more information about planning for the 2020-2021 school year.
Tulsa Public Schools is a destination for extraordinary educators who work with our community and families to ignite the joy of learning and prepare every student for the greatest success in college, careers, and life. Learn more about the district by visiting www.tulsaschools.org.