More than $2 billion in federal COVID-bailout funds have been provided to Oklahoma school districts since 2020 to cover the costs to safely open amidst the pandemic. But despite that lavish infusion of cash, numerous schools are now closing again amidst the rise of the Omicron variant.
That has left many parents—and students—with an unsettling sense of déjà vu.
“In Edmond and Deer Creek, the families that I know, the kids are stressed because the last time this happened, they didn’t go back to school,” said Kandice Jeske, a mother of three children in the Deer Creek area. “My second grader is asking because we were in kindergarten when we missed nine weeks of school. So the kids are very confused, very stressed out and super-emotional, and rightfully so.”
When Margaret Coates, interim superintendent of Owasso Public Schools, announced that one of that district’s schools was shifting to remote learning and others could follow, she wrote, “I understand that a move to distance learning may be an inconvenience to your family and I apologize for that.”