MIAMI — Locally and statewide, as of Wednesday morning, all schools are closed now to classroom learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year after State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister requested at a special online board meeting Wednesday that all public schools in Oklahoma move to a continuous learning model for the remainder of the school year.

The state board has worked with the Department of Agriculture to obtain a waiver that allows Oklahoma schools to provide grab and go curbside meals at the schools and by delivery during this shutdown.

“We have a group of people that are working day and night to develop a distance learning plan, different than the current distance learning framework,” Hofmeister said at the meeting. “Oklahoma has tremendous educators and we have faith and confidence that our teachers are committed to establishing creative ways to continue to provide learning to our students. It will look different for different schools. We will provide more support at the state level and are asking for support at the federal level.”

“School is not the building; it is the people, the connection between students and their teachers and those that support them,” Hofmeister said. 

The state school board will include a mental health component in the digital learning framework so students can talk about the pandemic and any stress they are feeling about their individual experiences.

All the information about the plan will be provided to Oklahoma schools as soon as possible, with a target date of April 6 to roll out the distance-learning program.

Hofmeister made note that the state will not accept a school district saying this process is too complicated and that they are going to just be done for this school year.

“That is not acceptable.”

She went on to say that the state will provide the help and support necessary so that education can continue.

Spring sports and other Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association-sanctioned events already activities already had been cancelled for the remainder of the year.

Miami Public School Superintendent Jeremy Hogan said in a Facebook post, “I want our seniors and families to know that we are committed to having a graduation ceremony even if we have to have one in July.

“I want you to know that our team has worked diligently to prepare for this situation and we are in a great position to ensure we offer an innovative and creative model to meet the needs of our students and families. God Bless you all and I will continue to pray for your health and safety during these trying times.” Hogan said.

Miami schools have provided resources and activities for all students K-12.

The following link is for further instructional support and enrichment for all grades and subjects - Digital Learning Experience, https://sites.google.com/miamips.net/mpsdigital/home?authuser=0.

Your child's school or teacher(s) may also provide additional resources and activities.

“During these unprecedented times it is important to help our children to be engaged mentally, physically, emotionally, and academically,” Hogan said. “The purpose of this site is to provide students with the opportunity to extend their learning opportunities. Students were born in the digital age and will be able to navigate these sites independently and safely.

While we don't know what the coming days may bring when it comes to traditional education, it is the perfect time to enjoy your child and learn right along with them,” Hogan said.

For updates during the closure, follow Miami schools on social media: Facebook (Miami Public Schools), Twitter (@mpswardogs and the MPS website, http://miami.k12.ok.us/

Hofsommer admitted that the approach is far from ideal, but its an extraordinary situation that anyone has never experienced before.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that we must help one another and care for and love one another,” Hofsommer said. “Keeping our children healthy is top of mind. 

“As we prepare to go to distance learning, as other states have done, taking the steps now makes the continuing of the school year possible. People have asked if we could wait a couple of weeks to make this decision and the answer is ‘no’. This is the beginning of distance learning statewide,” Hofmeister continued.

“I am hearing of some creative ways to celebrate those graduating this year, including online ceremonies. And I’m sure we will be hearing of more.

“Others are talking of doing graduation in individual vehicles, where the graduates can parade down Main Street and receive their diplomas with family and relatives watching from their vehicles.”