Norman Public Schools has set dates for teachers and students to return to school next month, though more details on the upcoming school year are still forthcoming.
Superintendent Nick Migliorino announced Thursday that NPS will return to school Monday, Aug. 17. Teachers will report back Aug. 6 to start training for the upcoming school year.
The district is working with a “Back-to-School Task Force” of administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members to plan for the upcoming school year, but has not released specifics on how students will be returning to school. Migliorino’s Thursday announcement noted that the district will offer traditional in-person instruction, blended instruction, and remote virtual instruction, but did not provide more details on what those options will look like.
NPS said in a Facebook post Wednesday evening that the district will release more specific back-to-school plans no later than July 15.
Migliorino's letter on Thursday indicated that the district is on track to release a more thorough plan "in mid July following our next board meeting." While district's Board of Education is next scheduled to meet July 20, an NPS spokesperson said Thursday that the district will likely schedule a special meeting for a date before July 15.
While other large Oklahoma school districts, including Oklahoma City and Moore public schools, have released more detailed plans for the fall, Migliorino said in a letter Thursday that NPS has "opted to take a different approach with a measured, methodical process that engages many stakeholders and takes into account a variety of perspectives and circumstances.”
"We are working hard to balance everyone’s 'need to know' with providing well thought-out plans that are based on the most up-to-date guidance available during this time of rapid change,” Migliorino’s letter reads. "I believe this thoughtful approach sets us apart from many other districts.”
The district has released two surveys to parents, teachers and staff, the results of which Migliorino shared in part on Thursday.
According to the superintendent’s letter, 90% of NPS parents plan to have their students return to school this fall.
Parents ranked the traditional school week as their most popular pick for the fall, though Migliorino noted that about 40% of survey participants were interested in hybrid or remote learning options. Staff participants indicated an interest in both a traditional school week and a hybrid week.
The surveys showed that parents and staff were concerned about the ability to social distance, and staff were concerned about their health.
Migliorino and the district have also noted that inaccurate information about the district’s plans for the school year has been shared online, and have cautioned that any flyer detailing information about back-to-school plans is not from NPS.
"There is no perfect plan and I understand we will not be able to please everyone, as there are vastly differing opinions on nearly every aspect of returning to school,” Migliorino’s letter reads. "But my promise to you is that we will continue to monitor and follow guidance from local, state and federal experts and remain in a position to quickly adjust and adapt as the situation surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve.
"We will always put children first and remain committed to doing what we believe is in the best interest of our students and staff."