Public schools prepare for student enrollment, pandemic provisions

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

Some school systems are already releasing plans to begin a new school year. As area school systems prepare to reopen next month during a pandemic, state education officials are leaving many choices to the wide variety of school districts across Oklahoma.

A Thursday announcement on the Ardmore City Schools Facebook page said a reopening plan would be presented during the school board meeting on Tuesday, July 21. School board meetings have been virtual throughout the summer, and the plan is expected to be published on the school system’s website on Wednesday.

Other schools have already released plans to begin classes in the next few weeks. In Carter County, Dickson, Springer, Wilson and Plainview school systems have released plans that make provisions to continue education in the event of school closures. Many of the plans focus on adjusted attendance policies and on-campus safety, like face coverings and symptom screening.

In June, the Oklahoma State Department of Education released guidelines for schools to develop plans for beginning the next school year. The more than 70-page document provided suggestions for academics, child and family support, and school operations, but ultimately directs systems to consider the fluid nature of reopening schools during a pandemic.

“This document provides a framework with considerations that district and school leaders can utilize as they plan for the 2020-21 school year. Plans inform decision-making, but the most effective planning is subject to change as new information becomes available,” read the SDE guidance.

Some area school districts have already started the enrollment process. Ardmore schools have an online enrollment package for new and returning students, and technology is being made available to families without internet access. The Ardmore City Schools Administration Building can provide a Chromebook and wireless internet access Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. through July 30. In-person enrollment days will be held on Aug. 5 and Aug. 6.

Springer Public Schools have enrollment packets available online and will enroll students on Aug. 4 in the cafeteria, while the first day of school is scheduled for Aug. 12. Wilson Public Schools have moved all enrollments online and will begin classes on Aug. 13. 

Healdton Public Schools this week announced enrollment will begin Aug. 3 and classes will resume Aug. 20. Fox Public Schools will hold enrollment days from July 28 through Aug. 4, with new student enrollment on Aug. 5. Many school enrollment dates will vary depending on the student’s school, grade or the guardian’s name. Families should contact their school district for specific enrollment and calendar information.