OPS Responds to Questions, Concerns About Back-To-School Plan

July 10, 2020, 10:54 a.m. ·

(Credit: Omaha Public Schools)

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The Omaha Public School District is responding to questions and concerns about its plan for returning to school next month. District officials answered questions during a town hall on Facebook live Thursday night.

The plan has students attending in person classes only two to three days each week, with virtual instruction on the remaining days.

Superintendent Cheryl Logan says they need to have fewer students in each building at one time.

"We have many, many schools where the rate of usage exceeds 100%," Logan said. "And that’s one of the things we had to take into consideration when we think about socially distancing as one of the interventions to help reduce the spread."

OPS Attendance Plan

  • Students last name A-K: attend every Monday and Tuesday, alternating Wednesdays
  • Students last name L-Z: attend every Thursday and Friday, alternating Wednesdays

Students will be divided into two groups based on last names; one group will attend every Monday and Tuesday, while the other attends every Thursday and Friday. The two groups will alternate Wednesdays in school.

Many parents say remote learning earlier this year was chaotic and difficult to manage. OPS Chief Academic Officer Melissa Comine says they’ve learned from that experience and have high expectations for both staff and students.

"For our students, we expect them to attend school daily when healthy, participate in class, complete learning activity, stay connected with their peers and teachers, and reach out when they need help," Comine said.

Parents on the live stream asked questions about mandatory face coverings, transportation, child care costs, meals, and special education services.

Officials say there are exceptions to the face covering rule, including for children with sensory needs. Bus service will continue and the alternating schedule will mean more room for physical distancing.

"We realize that child care is going to be an issue for families," Logan said. "We hope with all of the things that we’re taking into consideration and account as a community that we will slow the spread so much that we’ll be able to return to a 100% in school every day as soon as possible."

Logan acknowledged there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how schools will operate as the pandemic continues.

Classes are set to begin August 11.