School shutdowns urged despite local COVID-19 rates

School shutdowns urged despite local COVID-19 rates

A group of House Democrats is urging the Oklahoma State Board of Education to mandate the closure of schools in counties with COVID-19 rates above a certain threshold. But the lawmakers’ recommendation comes as county-level COVID-19 rates continue to swing wildly from week to week and highlight the problems created by tying school-shutdown orders to county rates that often do not reflect local community conditions.

“Schools across the state have begun to reopen with mixed results and mixed responses,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, a Tulsa Democrat who was identified as the primary author of the letter. “Each day we read of newly confirmed cases tied to school buildings across our state. Schools are doing their level best to manage this crisis and continue to educate our children. We applaud them. Now they need our support, and they need us to shoulder this responsibility with them.”

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