Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, released the following statement Thursday in response to comments by Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters regarding school districts shifting to remote learning.
“I am very disappointed by Secretary Walters’ comments criticizing school administrators for shifting schools to remote learning. Pointing fingers and blaming school leaders who are forced to make tough decisions due to rising COVID infections and staff shortages is not productive.
“Instead of attacking educators and school principals, we should be working together to address the problem. Our top priority should be the safety of our children. As a parent and former teacher, I know that students learn best in the classroom. We must do everything we can to defeat the epidemic, so our students will have a safe learning environment.
“Unfortunately, the recent surge in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant has caused critical staffing shortages in schools throughout our state. Schools can’t continue in-person instruction when there aren’t enough teachers or substitutes to teach the classes.
“When schools take the difficult step of temporarily adopting remote learning, we should make sure our educators have the resources and support, including the technology, to help our students adapt and provide them with innovative virtual instruction.
“These are extraordinarily challenging times for educators, parents, and students, but together we will get through this.”
Sen. Hicks: (405) 521-5543 or Carri.Hicks@oksenate.gov