POTEAU, Okla. (KNWA/KFTA) — Poteau Public Schools in Oklahoma is pushing the first day of school to Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
The district was originally set to welcome students on August 17, but the school board voted Monday to approve the change.
Pansy Kidd Middle School Principal Marshall Brence says there are multiple reasons for pushing back the first day. One, of course, is the concern over COVID-19. He says the district has had students test positive during the summer months. The number of cases in the City of Poteau has also recently increased.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, Poteau plans to open its schools with a blended calendar of both virtual and in-person learning options. The district will also distribute Chromebooks to its approximately 2,500 students. Brence says the district is still in the process of gathering accessories for those computers, including protective cases, so the delayed start will allow time to ensure students have everything they need.
Brence says the September start will also give teachers and faculty extra time to learn brand new software, which the school just received. He says the district felt the later start date gives staff more time to properly train on the new programs.
At this time, the district is still figuring out how to make up for the delayed start. Brence says some options could include extra minutes added to school days or the addition of extra days onto the end of the school year.
Some extracurricular activities are already underway, including band and several sports practices. Brence says those will continue as planned for now, under COVID-19 guidelines.