By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Newkirk Public Schools (NPS) facilities have been closed for the week, as the school has undertaken virtual learning in the Red Phase of the Return to Learn COVID-19 plan. Students should return to the classroom Monday, Nov. 9.
The decision to close the school came Friday, Oct. 30. The school will be closed for nine days, including weekends. The decision was reached due to multiple cases of COVID-19 at NPS, which was at eight cases across all schools Oct 30. The choice to enter into the Red Phase was an effort to decrease the disease at the school.
“We have too many cases in our school, and we want to get them down,” NPS Superintendent Scott Kempenich said. “My hope is that the nine days of virtual learning will help.”
Under the Red Phase of the Return to Learn plan educators will be teaching from the classroom, while students learn from home. Contact tracing has helped school officials determine who may have come in contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Students and staff will be undergoing a 14 day quarantine if they are found to be within 6 ft. of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.
School administrators chose to enact a shorter virtual learning session to help students return to the classroom safely.
“We’re trying to do the least number of days of closure as possible, because we need kids in school, ,” Kempenich said. “We’re doing one week instead of two to three weeks because one week will hopefully stop the spread as much as two weeks.”
Kempenich added that the school may undergo more virtual learning should more positive cases be identified.
For more information, contact NPS at www.newkirk.k12.ok.us, or call NHS at (580) 362-6241