COVID TRANSPARENCY: Tracking cases in schools

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 08/28/2020, 7:26 PM
Edited: 03/11/2021, 10:22 AM
(TULSA, Okla.) School is back in session for many schools in Green Country, or about to begin soon. At VNN, transparency is one of our most valued ideals. That’s why we are reaching out to local school districts to track how transparent they are being in regards to how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting teachers, support staff and students. Bartlesville Public Schools resumed classes on August 17. In-person teaching began in the Union School District and Sand Springs Public Schools on Monday. Union is the first district to respond to our inquiry regarding COVID-19 tracking. UPS Chief Communications Officer Chris Payne sent us this public database where parents and students can track the cases in the district themselves: “When our district made the decision to go forward with in-person learning, we knew it would be very important that we be transparent with our families, teachers and support staff,” Payne said. “Our parents and staff place a lot of trust in us, and we believe it’s important that we reciprocate with data and information that will equip all of us to make the best decisions going forward. If, at some point, it becomes impossible for us to safely provide school in-person, we may need to make a change, but we will do so with eyes wide open.” He told us about 1,150 Union employees volunteered to take an antibody test before the school year began. Out of those, 11 were positive for antibodies. Out of those 11, four tested positive for COVID-19, two of whom were teachers. The other results were either negative or hadn’t been reported yet. Payne said on the first day of school, 35 students did not report to school due to coronavirus. He said ten were positive and the other 25 were quarantining due to close contact. The school year began for Jenks Public Schools and Owasso Public Schools on Monday, though both have started the year off with virtual/distance learning. Tulsa Public Schools will also start the school year off with exclusive virtual/distance learning this upcoming Monday. Broken Arrow Public Schools pushed back their first day of school, after more than 30 teachers tested positive for COVID-19. Their school year now begins September 3, with in-person, distance learning and virtual learning options. Want an update on a school district not included in this list? Email


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