Lawton Public Schools continues to update staff and parents on changes forced on schools throughout the state as they deal with public measures taken to control the spread of COVID-19.
The district initially was set to reopen its campuses March 23 after Spring Break. But, the Oklahoma State Department of Education announced it was directing districts across the state to remain closed through April 6, with the potential for even longer closure. School districts in most states have suspended classes or extended spring break, while Kansas has cancelled classes for the remainder of the school year. California officials have indicated it is likely schools there will not reopen this school year.
Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said operations that would cease through April 6 include all instructional activities and services, grading, extracurricular activities, staff development, trainings and conferences. However, essential clerical and administrative activities such as business management, nutritional services and maintenance may continue.
Decisions may change from day-to-day, and Interim Superintendent Tom Thomas said the district would update its website, Facebook and Twitter pages regularly to keep students, staff and district families informed.
Some highlights, as of March 20:
How will mandated state testing be affected? The Oklahoma State Department of Education has said there will be no state testing this school year.
Will students be allowed to take their ACT? ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national testing date to June 13 and July 18. ACT will notify registered students directly and provide instructions.
Do students need to attend their concurrent or career tech classes? Cameron University will resume classes Monday in an alternate format, meaning the use of online instruction, Zoom sessions, interactive television sessions, recorded podcasts or other options. LPS students who are concurrently enrolled at Cameron will receive instructions for their class work from the university. Great Plains Technology Center will be closed through April 6, so classes there are suspended.
What about special education services? When school resumes, the Special Education Department will meet to review how the closure impacted the delivery of special education and related services, then develop plans for children. The State Department of Education has directed schools to not provide online, homebased or distance learning for students at this time. If the child’s annual IEP review or eligibility review is scheduled during the closure, districts are to conduct meetings as soon as school is back in session. If IEPs expire during this time, the district will continue to work with the child and provide services upon return to school.
Will LPS employees be required to report to work? Employees needed for essential services during the mandatory closure may still be required to report, to include cafeteria personnel who will provide student meals in a “grab and go” format during the closure. Those employees will be notified.