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Owasso’s Hodson Elementary pivots to distance learning amid staff shortages due to COVID, general illness
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Owasso’s Hodson Elementary pivots to distance learning amid staff shortages due to COVID, general illness

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Owasso Public Schools announced that Hodson Elementary will temporarily move to distance learning amid “an extremely high number of teacher and staff absences” due to COVID-19 and general illness.

OPS Superintendent Margaret Coates in a letter to parents Monday said the transition to virtual instruction will begin Tuesday, Jan. 11, and run through the remainder of the week.

“Staff members contacted the district throughout the weekend reporting illnesses, which contributed to more than 175 staff absences today (Monday). That accounts for more than 15% of all OPS staff,” Coates said. “Each area of our district was affected in some way — bus drivers, child nutrition staff, teachers and everything in between.”

A significant percentage of Hodson’s staff was affected, officials said, which led to the decision to move the school’s students to home-based learning.

“Our preference at this time is to evaluate each site individually rather than to pivot the entire district to distance learning,” Coates said. “These decisions are not made lightly, and while we wish to maintain in-person instruction, we must consider the ability to serve students safely and equitably.”

First- through fifth-grade students at Hodson will be given a Chromebook to take home with them. Teachers of Pre-K and kindergarten students will reach out to parents directly regarding device needs. Students will log into Google Classroom and receive instruction from OPS teachers beginning Tuesday morning.

The Owasso Child Nutrition team will also set up a drive-thru, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., for families to pick up meals at the bus loop each day beginning on Tuesday.

The district will continue to assess the staffing situation at Hodson throughout the week and communicate decisions regarding the week of Jan. 19-21. There will be no school on Monday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Tuesday, Jan. 18, for district-wide teacher professional development.

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