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Increase in COVID-19 cases shuts down southern Oklahoma schools before Thanksgiving break

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 7:32 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 9:40 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Oklahoma (KXII) - COVID-19 cases have caused 29 out of 56 school districts in Southern Oklahoma Counties to shut down at least one school, for many the whole district, until after Thanksgiving Break. Only 15 of the schools haven’t had to close a school yet.

In Carter County, Springer is the only district out of nine that’s completely open right now.

The superintendent said the district was able to stay open because they keep kids separated with assigned seating everywhere, even on buses. Students are around the same people from the first bell to the last.

Greenville Superintendent Greg Raper said his district has a similar strategy.

“We stay in the same groups all day long,” Raper said. “We don’t mix.”

Four Greenville teachers quarantined this week, taking nearly half of Greenville students online.

“This is the first week we’ve had to do that,” Raper said. “We’ve been lucky. For the teachers, it’s been very stressful because you know you have to prepare for everything.”

Greenville has 60 students, and each teacher has a class of seven.

“We just pretend like we’re in red all the time so we take all the precautions we can,” Raper said.

Kim Holland is the superintendent of Ardmore City Schools, which has around 3,100 students and over 1,800 of them, more than half, are online now while schools quarantine.

“We didn’t have enough teachers to have kids in the school and get done what we needed to get done, so we had to make the whole school go virtual,” Holland said.

Only four Ardmore schools are in person right now.

“Having a virtual principal is what helped us survive,” Holland said.

At the beginning of the semester, Ardmore City Schools hired a principal just for virtual classes.

“The exchange of information and him getting students and teachers what they need has been much more responsive and happened much quicker,” Holland said. “We’re very thankful for that.”

When Ardmore students have to move online, they immediately switch to the online principal.

“We try not to even miss a day,” Holland said.

Most schools will be back in person after Thanksgiving Break with two exceptions: Lone Grove will wait until December 4th, and Vanoss will wait until December 7th.

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