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The Oklahoma State Board of Education on Wednesday, March 25, decided to transition students into distance learning models for the remainder of 2019-20 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mandatory closure of schools that began March 17 will continue through April 5 for students, and “continuous learning plans” adopted by each local school district will begin April 6 and run through at least May 8-15.

Owasso Public Schools will follow suit with State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s directive, canceling classes as well as extracurricular activities and special events district-wide for the spring semester.

“I can only imagine how difficult the process was to get to this type of recommendation,” OPS Superintendent Amy Fichtner said in a letter to parents, “yet I am grateful for the leadership and thoughtfulness of Superintendent Hofmeister and her staff … as we navigate this unprecedented situation together.”

Fichtner said she and her administrative staff are holding daily virtual meetings and working together in an effort to plan various learning strategies for students through the remainder of the academic year.

“After safety, our priorities shift to strong school-to-home relationships along with meeting the instructional needs of your children,” Fichtner said in the letter. “I have full confidence that our staff can plan virtually for your student’s academic needs.”

OPS will release more information in the days ahead regarding the new curriculum, as well as provide further details about events such as graduation, which was included in the list of canceled school activities.

“We are working on alternatives to the traditional graduation ceremony and ways that we can honor and celebrate our senior class, which has worked very hard to reach this point in their academic careers,” OPS Director of Communications Jordan Korphage told Owasso Reporter.

OPS, along with all statewide public school districts, will also forego federally required state tests in grades 3-8 and high school for the 2019-20 school year. As a result, materials will not be shipped to schools, and training for test proctors is unnecessary.

Additionally, the Oklahoma School Report Cards — which are calculated with data from federally required assessments and other indicators — will be suspended for the remainder of the school year.

Andrea Eager with Tulsa World contributed to this story.