MIAMI — Miami High School will move to an A/B instructional schedule for the next two weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 21.

That’s because of the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases and isolations that impact the high school, according to superintendent Jeremy Hogan.

It will not affect any of the other six sites in the Miami School District.

“The high school is going A/B for two weeks. I will make an official announcement tomorrow (Friday),” Hogan said. “I don’t anticipate anything changing on that for the other school sites.”

Under the A/B schedule, which will be in effect until Oct. 2, students will be divided into two groups.

Group A will attend Monday and Tuesday with Group B moving to distance learning.

They will flip on Wednesday and Thursday with all students using distance learning on Friday.

All students will be on the first of all-virtual days on Friday, Sept. 18. The others are Friday, Oct. 2 and Friday, Nov. 6.

This is not the result of any COVID-19 isolations or quarantines.

Ottawa County is among five counties in Oklahoma that are considered red — 50 or more cases per 100,000.

Numbers for the county spiked from 24.78 cases in the Sept. 3 report to 53.24 in the Sept. 10 report.

Sept. 10 was the first time that probable cases had been factored into the OSHD report with positives.

“Where we are at right now with the high school is we’re just having a little trouble getting it leveled off,” Hogan said. “Hopefully by this A/B schedule and having a smaller number of kids in the building, that will give us a couple weeks to let it level off a little bit. Then we can bring them back and move forward.”

Under the MPS policy, face coverings are required for all students and staff, no visitors are allowed and all health orders and safety protocols will be followed.

“At least this gives us two days of in-person instruction instead of complete distance learning,” Hogan said. “We’re doing our best to protect in-person learning and recognize that it’s very important for the kids to be in school, not just for learning, but so we can provide them a hot meal, a safe and caring environment and also parents need them there during the day so they can work.

“We’re doing our best to do that. Obviously at the high school, those kids can tend to themselves a little better than the younger population. It’s easier to make that decision for them, but ultimately, we’ve been hit hard at the high school more so than any other site.”

Hogan said MPS follows Oklahoma State School Board Association/State Department of Education guidelines.

The health department map has only four levels while the OSDE map has five — two separate orange levels — and “is simpler to follow and it works well,” Hogan said. “With what the health department puts out, we will never go red because it has to have all of those triggers in place.”

However, Hogan said it’s the data from within the various MPS buildings that is evaluated daily and drives the local decisions.

Those include the isolations, quarantines, staffing levels and other factors.

“Our cases are going back down a little bit,” Hogan said. “I anticipate us being at Orange Level 2 next week by looking at the daily data, what I am seeing and coordinating with the health department.

“We are looking at our cases, isolations, positive cases and quarantine numbers.”

As of Tuesday, Sept. 15, in data for the high school (which includes the Miami Academy) there were four people in isolation (one staffer and three students), two student recoveries, one member of the staff and 25 students on quarantine and nine students returned.

At Will Rogers Middle School, there was one staffer in isolation, two combined recoveries, six students on quarantine and 91 (one staff and 90 students) returned.

On the elementary level, there have been only one student in isolation, three staff and two students recovered, six staff and 30 students quarantined and three staff and 27 students who have returned.

Hogan said it is hoped that there will not be a need to cancel any athletic events due to COVID-19.

“We prefer to have it for the kids — we don’t want to punish them,” he said. “If we have to say ‘no fans,’ then no fans. We understand parents want to be there and have that opportunity for them, but limited capacity is something we will strongly look at. Right now, all of our activities are outdoors, which helps, but when indoor activities roll around, we’re going to have to take another look at it and figure out ‘ok, how can we make this work?’ because the ventilation is not as good. That’s what worries us.”

Also effective Monday, there will be new protocols in place for school activities.

They include:

Green (0-1.43 cases) - No restrictions

Yellow (1.43-14.39) - Mask and social-distancing recommendation

Orange 1 (14.39-25) - Mask requirement and social-distancing recommendation

Orange 2 (25-50) - Mask requirement and 50% capacity

Red (50+) - Mask requirement and 25% Capacity

Wardog Sports, YouTube Live and Facebook Live will stream activities.

Hogan stresses that anyone in isolation or quarantined are not allowed to attend school activities or events.