Yukon Schools students to return after Christmas break

Students will go back to class Jan. 11

Dr. Jason Simeroth

The Yukon Public Schools Board voted Monday for students to return to in-person learning with virtual and distance learning options in January.

Three options were presented to board members. One option was to  stay with distance learning only, to return to school on Jan. 4 or Jan. 11 with the option of virtual school, or return to school with the options of a Yukon at-home learning plan and a virtual school.

Virtual school will start Jan. 4 after Christmas break.

Dr. Jason Simeroth said that surveys send to parents over the weekend show that 85% want their students to return to school.

The board voted to return Jan. 11 with in-person learning and a “Yukon at home” program for students to stay with virtual learning until spring break..

Board President Suzanne Cannon said, “I think the students want to go back to school.”

The board voted unanimously not to follow the State Department of Education recommendation to close down schools if the number of COVID-19 cases are in the red category as determine by the State Department of Health. The district will no longer follow the department’s color-coded map regarding cases of COVID-19.

“If we return to school it is going to be up to the parents and to the community to keep them in school,” Simeroth said. “You’ve got to stay masked. You’ve got to stay distant.”

Simeroth said the district has had a shortage of substitutes and the public should work to stop the spread.

“You’re going to have to help us. We have to have some help to keep the doors open,” Simeroth said.

Survey results showed concerns with students’ educational progress, their mental health, financial problems at home for parents and childcare expenses.

Board member Michele Hawthorne asked that parents understand that the board members are doing the best they can in a pandemic.

“Work with us, not against us,” Hawthorne said.

The voted to open schools and offer the YPS at home program and the continuous virtual plan.

The district delayed the start of in-person learning in August and students went back in September. Classes went all remote in November.

A news release from the district states the following:

On December 7, Yukon Public Schools Board of Education voted to return to the traditional classroom setting on January 11, 2021. YPS families who wish to remain learning in an at-home setting will now have two options: YPS At Home and Yukon Virtual School.
YPS At Home is a new, temporary learning pathway using YPS curriculum and pacing designed for students who can be successful learning independently in an at-home setting.
Yukon Virtual School is a self-paced option with curriculum provided by Edgenuity and Florida Virtual with monitoring provided by YPS teachers.
For the week of January 4, 2021, students will continue in their current learning pathway of Continuous Learning Plan (CLP) or Yukon Virtual School.
The YPS Board of Education also voted to use district COVID-19 numbers as our governing body to determine closures moving forward rather than the Oklahoma State Department of Education COVID-19 alert map.”