Hofmeister comments on State Board rejection of COVID-19 safety requirements for schools
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the following remarks after the State Board of Education, on a 4-3 vote, disapproved the “requirements” contained in the Oklahoma School Safety Protocols in favor of making them “recommendations.” The proposal would have required face masks for all adults and students in public school buildings in counties where community spread of COVID-19 is occurring as designated by an Oklahoma State Department of Health color-coded map designating COVID-19 risk levels.
“Today’s vote is very disappointing and one that likely will stoke more concerns for teachers, parents and families with a new school year only weeks away. We all realize how important it is for schools to reopen. But we are in the midst of a global pandemic with COVID-19 cases sharply rising in our state. I believe it entirely appropriate that the State Board establish a floor of recommended and required protocols to ensure a safer environment for all in the school community – teachers, staff and students. Now that the board has made its decision, we strongly urge districts across the state to do the right thing and demonstrate the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ by masking up and following social distancing guidelines. In the meantime, the Oklahoma State Department of Education will continue working to secure the PPE our schools need.”