Wynona and Avant school districts to resume distance learning after break

Two area school districts are slow rolling their return to in-person instruction after Thanksgiving.

In a letter to parents dated Nov. 27, Wynona Public Schools’ Superintendent Shelly Shulanberger announced that her district would pivot distance learning for the week of Nov. 30 in accordance with the color-coded alert system used by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

According to the updated map released on Nov. 27 with data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Osage County is one of 74 counties across the state considered to be in the red zone, or having at least 50 active cases for every 100,000 residents. At that point, school districts are advised to go to distance learning until the per capita case count falls below 25 for every 100,000 people.

As of Nov. 27, Osage County has 52.3 cases for every 100,000 residents. That is the fifth lowest per capita case count in the state, trailing Latimer, Hughes, Pushmataha and Seminole counties. That count does not include any new cases diagnosed after Thanksgiving.

However, the guidance also notes that those protocols are non-binding and can be set aside if the case numbers are substantially impacted by facilities that do not readily lend themselves to community spread.

Wynona families with students in third grade and up are asked to pick up their children’s Chromebooks, chargers, and if needed, wireless hot spots between 9-11 a.m. on Nov. 30 in the administration building’s parking lot.

Paper packets will be distributed to students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grade on Nov. 30 at the south entrance to the elementary building.

Additionally, citing a lack of enough substitute teachers to cover quarantined faculty members, Avant Public Schools announced on Nov. 24 that its students will also be in distance learning for the week of Nov. 30. The dependent district has previously pivoted to distance learning several times this semester due to a disproportionate number of students and staff in quarantine.