Each student had a chance at in-person instruction for four or five days on an alternating A/B schedule at Norman North High School, and then a third of the school was quarantined because of Covid, Blaine Bruton reported in The Howl, the student newspaper at the central Oklahoma school.
Like most schools, the year started completely online, but students started returning to the high school for in-person learning on September 6. Despite strict mask and social distancing requirements, large numbers of students and faculty caught the virus. The school returned to remote learning by September 21, about two weeks later.
Ninety teachers joined in a letter, posted to a Facebook account, attesting to disappointment on their part that district leaders didn’t pay attention to educators who predicted such as result could befall the school:
Eight days ago, we began in-person instruction to our … students. Despite the best efforts of staff and building administrators, and despite broad student compliance with mask mandates and social distancing, despite crucial parental support, we find ourselves exactly where many feared we would be: watching as COVID spreads among our student and staff population. …
Now, we have fundamental concerns that must be addressed before we as a staff feel we can safely return to work with students in the building.
The teachers hope the district enforces safer cleaning procedures and keeps the school community notified about the spread of Covid-19. They also hope that trained, professional staff will be able to implement an effective contact tracing protocol.
“We want our students to be in the building and to be able to engage with them on their education journey,” the teachers wrote, “but the safety of our school community comes first and always will.”