March 25, 2020
Today, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s recommendation to waive the instructional day and year. Effective April 6, Oklahoma students will complete the remainder of the school year under the Continuous Learning Plan (distance learning) without reopening school buildings during the global pandemic. This recommendation is in the best interest of everyone’s health, which is our greatest priority as a district. During this difficult time of uncertainty, Lawton Public Schools (LPS) is committed to providing our students with opportunities to learn and grow academically, especially with parental support.
We know this is a huge transition from where we started the school year. Our district has already begun preparations for distance learning. As you can imagine, this is a significant transition for our students and our teachers.
We are sad for our students and realize they will be disappointed to hear the news that we will not complete the year at school. Please give them a safe place to express their feelings and to vent about the changes in their life. For our seniors and their parents, we know it is an especially difficult time. We will do everything possible to ensure their efforts are recognized and celebrated in special and unique ways. This is an unfair situation, but please reassure them that it does not diminish their achievements.
Here's what we can share with you at this time:
• School facilities would be closed for the remainder of the school year.
• Extracurricular activities are canceled for the remainder of the school year.
• School will resume April 6, with a Continuous Learning Plan for distance learning.
• The State Education Department is reviewing issues for students with special education needs and will be providing additional guidance.
• Efforts are under way to support career tech students who need to complete schooling/training.
We realize this still very broad information and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We will continue to update our Frequently Asked Questions and our COVID-19 district web page at www.lawtonps.org. We have posted numerous resources on our website, including information about free breakfast and lunch. The site also includes recommendations from the CDC about protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. We ask you to please follow their advice by: (1) washing your hands regularly; (2) staying at home, if you can; and (3) practicing social distancing of at least six feet from others.
This is an unprecedented situation, and it has required an unprecedented response. I am proud and honored to serve as your superintendent. I have seen our staff step up to the plate and take care of our students and their fellow colleagues during this difficult time. We are a community that sticks together in challenging times, and I know this situation will be no different. As soon as we identify our next steps, we will share them with you.
Please stay safe. As always, we appreciate your support and patience.
Dr. Tom Thomas
For PDF document: COVID Update #5