Update from Supt. Dr. Vinson regarding upcoming school year
First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank you for your patience as my team and I plan for the upcoming school year. Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff continue to remain our top priority. We know you have many questions: What will the year look like? How will we safely and effectively return to in-classroom learning? When will the school year start? How will the district manage appropriate social distancing? Please know we are working through these questions and many others.
Families will receive a final reentry plan at the end of July. Please make sure your contact information is up to date by completing your residency verification for the 2020-21 school year.
Additionally, our communications team has created a Back-to-School hub on our website at www.baschools.org/backtoschool where parents can get information and updates. Please know we will continue communicating changes as they occur.
First Day of School & Instructional Calendar
Based on current guidance from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, school will begin as originally scheduled.
- First day for K-12 students: Wednesday, Aug. 19
- First day for Pre-K students: Friday, Aug. 21
Additionally, the Broken Arrow Public Schools Board of Education recently approved the replacement of Late Start Wednesdays with six distance learning days and revised school end times for the 2020-21 school year.
The distance learning days will allow for students to complete coursework from home while teachers report to their classrooms for virtual instruction and collaboration with their colleagues.
The distance learning days will occur on the following:
- Oct. 5
- Nov. 2
- Dec. 7
- Feb. 1
- March 1
- April 5
The new school times are as follows:
- Early Childhood Centers – 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
- Elementary – 9:10 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.
- Middle School – 8:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.
- Freshman Academy & High School: 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.
It was determined that we needed to continue practicing distance learning days throughout the year in the event of having to send students home for an extended period of time. The new school ending times come from the time left over from the deletion of Late Start Wednesdays, so we were able to shave some time off at the end of the day to still meet state requirements.
The updated 2020-21 instructional calendar can be found on the front page of our website on the left hand side.
Safety and Procedures
Broken Arrow Public Schools will continue to follow the guidance and expertise of state and local officials in order to protect our students and staff. The district’s leadership team is actively working to update Broken Arrow Public Schools’ health and safety action plan. This document will outline safeguards and guidance from the district for the upcoming school year. These safeguards will include self-monitoring health screenings at home, enhanced cleaning/disinfectant procedures, social distancing procedures within the buildings and work stations, requirements for handwashing, mask guidance, etc.
Our team continues to take proactive measures to reduce germs in its office buildings and schools. In addition to thoroughly sanitizing high-touch surfaces, the district’s operations team utilizes the Clorox® Total 360® System at its school sites and district offices. This equipment uses a patented electrostatic delivery system that helps cleaning solutions “cling” to surfaces like desks, locker rooms or door handles. Custodians using the system can cover up to 18,000 square feet per hour, working up to four times faster than traditional cleaning methods and using up to 65 percent less solution.
The district also periodically conducts Infectious Disease Drills at each of our buildings, which allows custodians to review the response time of disinfecting surfaces should a student or employee become infected with the virus.
In-person Learning Versus Distance/Virtual Learning
Broken Arrow Public Schools WILL return to in-person learning as much as we can based on the most up-to-date guidance from the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Tulsa Health Department. If guidance requires periodic shifts to distance learning, we will be prepared to support our teachers and families in a virtual format. This pandemic is a complex situation with a number of unknowns, and there isn’t one deciding factor that would determine whether BA utilizes in-person instruction or distance learning. All changes throughout the school year will be communicated to families.
If your child enjoyed distance learning last semester, we recently expanded our full-time virtual education program to our elementary and middle school students, in addition to high school students.
This program allows students to enroll in multiple ways:
- Full-time: Students in grades Pre-K through 12 can complete 100 percent of their coursework online.
- Blended Enrollment: High school students in grades 9-12 can enroll in the Virtual Academy and still participate in an elective course at their school site, which may include fine arts or athletics. (NOTE: Virtual courses may meet NCAA requirements if certain criteria is met. Student athletes are encouraged to check with their school counselor when considering a virtual course.)
- Summer classes: High school students can participate in credit recovery or credit advancement during the summer months.
Again, thanks for your support as we navigate these unprecedented times. I’ll be in touch in late July.
Janet C. Vinson, Ph. D.
Broken Arrow Public Schools