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Staffing issues force Eliot Elementary School to distance learning; TPS to revisit mask protocol
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Staffing issues force Eliot Elementary School to distance learning; TPS to revisit mask protocol

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Another Tulsa Public Schools campus will be in distance learning Friday due to staff shortages.

Eliot Elementary School has suspended in-person classes for Friday. Grab-and-go meal service will be available outside the midtown campus, 1442 E. 36th St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Eight teachers and two support employees among Eliot’s 29 classroom-based staff had called in absent for Friday as of 4:45 p.m. Thursday, a district spokeswoman said. The school also has one vacant position.

Since the start of the semester, staff absences and a lack of substitute teachers have prompted multiple TPS sites to switch temporarily to distance learning. They include Carnegie, Cooper and Hawthorne elementary schools; Memorial Middle School; Memorial and McLain high schools; and Webster Middle and High School.

The distance learning announcement came on the same day Superintendent Deborah Gist notified parents across the district that TPS will be revisiting some of its COVID-19 protocols at Monday night’s school board meeting.

In a statement issued simultaneously with the email to parents, Gist cited dropping case counts and climbing vaccination rates across the Tulsa metro area in the decision to review the district’s mitigation strategies. She also hinted at a potential shift in protocols near the end of the school board’s Nov. 5 meeting.

“We continue to make our COVID-19 health and safety decisions based on science, data and the advice of health experts,” the statement says.

“During last week’s board meeting, I shared our intention to consider modifications to our COVID-19 safety practices. One of the changes relates to masking, and I will provide an update on Monday evening about our timeline for starting to roll back our masking expectations.”

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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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