School to start Aug. 27; distance learning to be available

Lowrey Public School is continuing to adapt to the challenges of starting the new school year.

Up until Tuesday, Lowrey was sticking with the original opening date, but Superintendent Cris Wyse said administrators were notified the Chromebooks they ordered will not be available. The Lowrey Board of Education approved, during a special meeting, set the start date at Aug. 27.

All plans and procedures may change based on updated data, health information, and directives from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. A back-to-school night will not happen this semester. Teachers and staff will begin contacting Lowrey families next week to share distance learning options, as well as details for the beginning of the school year, Wyse said.

Like most Cherokee County schools, Lowrey will offer traditional, on-site learning, as well as distance learning. A distance learning option will be available to all students and enough Chromebooks were ordered for each child.

"Our teachers have spent time throughout the summer gathering digital resources and attending tech training on campus. We will utilize Google Classroom to facilitate our distance learning plan," said Wyse. "Our teachers are determined to facilitate a quality learning experience for their students; they have been working countless hours to gather resources and online learning options."

The campus schedule will include n-class digital days to make the transition to full-time virtual learning easier on the students, should the need to cancel classes arise.

According to Wyse, a number of Lowrey families do not have internet access in their homes.

"Lake Region Telecom has helped us address this issue to some extent. Lake Region has installed a hot spot outside on our campus to facilitate digital access for those students with limited or no internet signal at home," said Wyse.

He said the Lowrey community is also thankful for the generosity of the Cherokee Nation and its Respond, Recover and Rebuild Education Initiative.

"We would like to encourage each of our families that receive the Cherokee Nation student technology funds to invest in an internet hot spot if a service provider is accessible in their homes," said Wyse.

All those who return to campus this semester will be required to wear face masks, including while riding the school bus, until after their temperatures are taken.

"Once it has been verified that their temperature is acceptable, individuals will be allowed to remove their masks. If student or staff members would prefer to wear masks throughout the day, they are encouraged to do so," said Wyse. "If you do not have a mask for your student, please contact the school and a mask will be provided."

For those on the traditional plan, the daily start and end times will remain the same this year. Students in prekindergarten through fourth grade will go directly to their classrooms in the mornings. After being checked in and screened, they will have breakfast. Those in grades 5-8 will report to the gym each morning to be screened, and then they will eat breakfast.

"Upper-grade students will eat breakfast and lunch in grade-specific, designated dining areas in the gym," said Wyse.

Each student will be given a reusable Lowrey water bottle to use at school, as water fountains will be replaced with water bottle filling stations.

An emphasis will be put on campus cleaning and personal hygiene. Each classroom will be cleaned twice daily, and buses will be cleaned daily, as well.

"The Lowrey Fire Department is assisting us by providing a cleaning system that will help us with our bus cleaning," said Wyse. "In the classroom, students will be instructed regularly on proper hand-washing methods, hygiene habits, and how to practice social distancing at school."

For information about Lowrey Public School's reopening plan or for updates, call 918-456-4053 or visit www.facebook.com/Lowrey-School-District-120223136035521.