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Mass staff absences prompt Broken Arrow to stay in distance learning

Mass staff absences prompt Broken Arrow to stay in distance learning

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Citing record-breaking levels of staff absences, Broken Arrow Public Schools will be staying in distance learning through next week.

In a letter sent to parents Friday afternoon, Superintendent Chuck Perry said 710 of the district’s roughly 2,300 employees called in absent that morning, an increase of more than 300 from Monday.

“With most absences due to illness averaging 7-9 days, our human resources department does not foresee a large number of employees able to return by Tuesday,” Perry wrote. “Additionally, my team and I discussed utilizing our Education Service Center and Central on Main staff and administrators — including myself — to substitute where needed. Even this does not give us enough coverage to be in-person.”

Even with only eight campuses offering in-person instruction Thursday, Broken Arrow officials were unable to find substitutes for 98 classrooms.

Broken Arrow has had at least one site in distance learning all week, with Sequoyah Middle School making the shift first. By Friday, the rest of the district had followed suit due to an increase in staff absences and a lack of substitute teachers.

Area school districts, including Broken Arrow, are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Student and staff absences have also prompted Catoosa Public Schools to cancel Tuesday’s classes. Additionally, Jenks Public Schools’ East and Northwest Elementary schools are scheduled to remain in distance learning through Wednesday.

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With staff absences precluding a lot of in-person learning, Tulsa Health Department's director commends schools working within challenging circumstances.



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My primary beat is public education. I am a third-generation graduate of Oklahoma State University, a board member for Oklahoma SPJ and an active member of the Native American Journalists Association.

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