Barnsdall Public Schools pushes back start date due to COVID-19

Just days before classes were set to begin, Barnsdall Public Schools is pushing back the start of the fall 2020 semester by one week due to COVID-19.

On Aug. 14, Superintendent Jeff Lay announced that the district will delay the start of classes from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24 after two district employees tested positive. In the announcement, Lay noted that enough additional employees were in close contact with the two confirmed positive cases during professional development sessions that the district does not have enough staff out of quarantine to open as scheduled.

“I know this causes great inconvenience for many families and I cannot express how sorrowful I am to be forced to make this decision,” Lay wrote. “Please know that these decisions are not made alone or lightly. I am in constant contact with the Osage County Health Department, which gives me great guidance that is medically sound. It is my first priority to keep your children safe and healthy while at school.”   

Just during the week of Aug. 10, more than 20 school districts and individual sites of all sizes across Oklahoma have had to make adjustments due to students or faculty testing positive for COVID-19. 

The impacted districts range from Broken Arrow Public Schools, which has delayed the start of its classes to accommodate 98 COVID-19 related employee absences, to Konawa Public Schools in Seminole County, which ended in-person instruction at noon on Aug. 14 after a family notified the district of at least one student testing positive. The rural district has suspended all activities and is conducting classes via distance learning through at least Aug. 28.