Bixby Public Schools students in ninth grade and higher will transition to distance learning for two weeks as the city’s COVID-19 rate of transmission continues to surge.
Superintendent Rob Miller announced on Thursday evening that all students in grades nine through 12 will engage in distance learning from Nov. 9 through Nov. 20. Students will then be out a week for Thanksgiving break, meaning high-schoolers are expected to resume in-person instruction Nov. 30. All other grades will continue in-person during that two-week period.
The city of Bixby reportedly reached an all-time high for COVID transmissions Wednesday with 119 cases from 92 separate residences.
In a letter addressed to families and district employees, Miller said “the current rate of COVID-19 transmission in our community is making it very difficult to minimize exposure and prevent further spread among our students and staff.”
The community surge, Miller said, is significantly affecting schools — particularly the ninth grade center and the high school. There currently are 16 active cases and more than 250 students under isolation or quarantines in grades nine through 12. That represents about one in seven students, or about 15% of high school enrollment.
All Bixby Public Schools campuses were closed Tuesday after a bus driver tested positive for COVID-19, sending at least seven other drives to quarantine.
“I am proud of the job our teachers have done balancing the demands of teaching their in-person classes while also serving the academic needs of high numbers of quarantined students learning from home. Despite their strong efforts and positive attitude, we all recognize this approach is not ideal.
“Additionally, we now have some students experiencing their second or third quarantine from school who are suffering academically. Coupled with a continuing shortage of qualified substitutes, we have reached a point where a temporary return to distance learning has become necessary.”
On the same day that Bixby’s high-schoolers are transitioning to distance learning, Tulsa Public Schools will begin its gradual transition to in-person instruction. The district’s prekindergarteners and kindergartners will return to school Monday after spending months engaged in remote learning. Other grades will transition back to school in the coming weeks, with middle school and high school returning in January.