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COVID-19 Response

Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, Tulsa Public Schools has continued to work closely with local health professionals to keep our students, team, and families safe and healthy. As we move forward together, our district will continue to make decisions based on science, data, and the advice of health experts.


2020-2021 School Year Overview

We are enthusiastic about welcoming your children back to learning in the 2020–2021 school year! While our school experiences will look and feel different this year, our teachers and school leaders will engage our students in rigorous learning, build and sustain meaningful teacher/student relationships, and keep children and families connected to their schools even, at times, from a safe distance.



Wear, Wash, Watch

Everyone in our community should be learning about and practicing the “3 Ws” of COVID-19 safety: wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. While we do have safety protocols in place at all of our buildings and sites, safe distancing will look different with students returning to in-person learning. Adults in our buildings will be expected to manage their distance, and we will maintain as much space as we can when students are in classrooms or moving throughout the building.

It will be important for parents to talk to their children about all of the “3 Ws,” but it is likely that safe distancing will be challenging for students in all grade levels. It will be hard for children to not hug their friends and teachers and to maintain distance with groups of friends that they have not seen since March. We encourage you to talk with your children about other ways to greet their friends from a safe distance.



Care & Connect

During November and December, students in middle, junior high, and high school can get help with technology, tutoring, and counseling supports at Care and Connect Centers in their schools. Care and Connect services will be available by appointment only, and students must follow all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Additional information can be found here.



Important contacts

Department Phone Email
Athletics 918-746-6453
Child Nutrition 918-833-8670
Education Service Center 918-746-6800
Enrollment 918-746-7500
Safety 918-480-SAFE
Special Education 918-746-6114
Student and Family Support Services 918-746-6329
Student Tech Support 918-833-TECH
Transportation 918-833-8100




2020-2021 School Year Calendar

With conditions changing by the day, our 2020-2021 school calendar is designed with three different scheduling options based on potential COVID-19 infection rates in Tulsa. We will work closely with local health professionals and city leaders to make decisions about changes in our schedule across the year.



Health and Safety Protocols

We continue to work with the Tulsa Health Department and other local and national health professionals to ensure that we are keeping our students, team, and families safe.

  • Personal Protective Equipment: We will be prepared to provide the appropriate personal protective equipment to our students and employees. For as long as is necessary to ensure safety, students and adults will be required to wear a mask when around other people.
  • New Building Signage: Our schools and sites with have signage about hygiene, social distancing, and safe and healthy behaviors (i.e. minimizing contact, wearing masks.)
  • Ventilation: Improved air filtration and/or ventilation systems at each school to minimize the potential airborne transmission of the virus in schools.
  • Sanitizing High-touch Surfaces: Custodians will have a focus on cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, toilets, sinks, handrails, and water bottle filling stations.
  • Transportation: The buses will be disinfected, staff and students will wear face coverings and the windows open for ventilation.
  • Child Nutrition: Meals will be served using the same distribution system as the current summer cafe model.
  • Enhanced Personal Hygiene: All schools and buildings will have adequate handwashing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers, disinfectant cleaner and wipes in the classrooms. 
  • Health Checks: We will require temperature checks for adults and ask parents to complete a health screening for students before school. Anyone feeling unwell will be safely separated.
  • Intensified Cleaning Techniques: Custodians will use handheld electrostatic sprayers and Biospray tanks to increase effectiveness and efficiency in disinfecting procedures. 



Case Response and Reporting

Health Checks

Temperature checks are required for adults, and we ask parents to complete a health screening for students.

If students and staff are sick:
  • For students: parents should keep their children home and notify their teacher/school(s).
  • For staff: notify immediate supervisor and stay home.
  • If a staff member or student become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case, they should notify their health care provider, Tulsa Health Department, their immediate supervisor, and school officials.
Should staff (and/or anyone in our buildings) reports they have COVID-19 symptoms and have tested positive:
  • Each location will identify an isolation room and will have information available to contact Tulsa Health Department for access to free testing.
  • Information will be logged to help monitor data and contact tracing.
  • District personnel will notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of a possible case while maintaining confidentiality consistent with the ADA and other applicable federal and state privacy laws.
  • Areas used will be closed off immediately for 24 hours and will not be used until cleaning and disinfecting measures are performed.
  • People who test positive will not return to the building until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation according to CDC and Tulsa Health Department guidelines.
  • Inform those who have had close contact to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and follow CDC and Tulsa Health Department guidance. If symptoms develop, and/or guidance for home quarantine, staff will follow-up with Talent Management for guidance. 

Weekly COVID-19 Case Counts

Response to Covid-19 Exposure



Assessing COVID Conditions for a safe return to in-person learning

We will focus on conditions in our district.

  • We have a set of early warning indicators in our district, and we look to these first to begin assessing conditions.
  • Our Rapid Testing Pilot supplements these early indicators, and will help us preemptively identify possible exposures.

COVID-19 rapid testing program: The Tulsa Health Department (THD) and Tulsa Public Schools plan to launch a pilot at schools in November 2020.

  • Goals are to reduce infection rates, keep educators in the classroom and guide the district’s decisions to manage in-person instruction in the healthiest and safest way possible.

These testing capabilities will be a valuable resource to help us safely reopen schools and keep them open to in-person instruction. We will:

  • Screen teachers and school-based support professionals
  • Rotate testing by groups of schools (potentially feeder patterns)
  • Leverage Abbott Rapid Antigen Point of Care Test or BD* Veritor System + PCR** (24 hour results) based on availability

We have partnered with the Tulsa Health Department and other researchers to create a data-driven process to assess COVID health conditions for Tulsa Public Schools.

  • Early Warning Indicators at TPS Schools
    • These data will help us to monitor conditions that are more localized and specific to our context. These data will help us to be more sensitive to conditions within schools to know if cases are higher or lower than overall county averages. These metrics are:
      • Tulsa Public Schools rapid testing results
      • New case rates for team members and students (TPS contact tracing)
  • Foundational School System Metrics
    • These internal data measure our ability to appropriately respond to early warning indicators and enact the necessary safety precautions at our schools. These metrics are
      • Availability of necessary PPE
      • Rates of quarantine
      • Staffing capacity
  • Foundational Health Care Metrics
    • These core metrics will help us understand overall rates of community spread. These data will help us to assess overall risk and changes in our greater community that may necessitate a change in our response. The core metrics are:
      • 7-day rolling average of new cases in Tulsa Public Schools boundary (calculated from public data).
      • 7-day rolling average of new cases in Tulsa County

In addition to the above metrics, we will consider variables such as active case rates by zip code, hospitalization rates, test positivity rates, and other data as advised by medical experts and best available research.

The three categories of metrics will be monitored weekly, and if a foundational health care metric hits threshold, or we detect an early warning from one of our indicators, evaluation and discussion.

The frequency of monitoring will increase when metrics are close to thresholds, and or early warning indicators at one or multiple schools are changing.

The approach for weekly assessment anchors on the following:

  • Stability of trend creates more stability for our system. We are using multiple weeks trend data minimize abrupt shifts for our students, families, and teachers.
  • Triangulation of data brings greater confidence and accuracy. We are assessing Tulsa Public Schools boundary area data and early warning indicators (e.g. rapid testing and 5-17 age group data), Tulsa County data, and then state of Oklahoma data.
  • Using additional variables allow us to see the system-as-a-whole. We also monitor active cases, PPE availability, staffing capacity, and hospitalization rates.

Once a full evaluation is triggered based on meeting a threshold condition, we will recommend one of four types of potential actions based on our assessment of the data:

  • No changes necessary at this time.
    • Based on current health and systems data, no changes will be made.
  • Additional monitoring and through increased, targeted testing.
    • Rapid testing efforts will be scaled up and/or targeted towards particular schools to ensure that potential cases are caught earlier, before widespread exposure or outbreak. Data will be re-examined for the following week.
  • Suspend in-person activity at a specific school or multiple schools.
    • If it is necessary to suspend in-person activity at a school, students, families, and staff will be notified shortly after a decision is made. Notices will be sent by 5 a.m. day of, 10 p.m. day before, or 2 p.m. for mid-day.
  • Change the default mode of instruction for the entire district.
    • After a full discussion and evaluation is triggered, a formal recommendation will be provided to the Board of Education reporting the suggested default mode of instruction. In emergency situations, the superintendent has the authority to execute individual school or district-wide closures as appropriate.

We will continue to leverage our COVID Exposure Protocol and Contact Tracing to trigger site specific actions to minimize exposure.



Parent and Family Resources