Start of school may be delayed for Muskogee students

Workers with Twisted X Excavation dig into the yard beside New Tech at Alice Robertson on Friday while preparing for sewer line reconstruction at the former Alice Robertson Junior High. Most of ARJH was demolished and will be rebuilt for a Freshman Academy.

Muskogee Public Schools might delay the first day of school from Aug. 12 to 31.

MPS Communications and Marketing Director Steve Braun said members of the Muskogee Board of Education asked Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall to consider the delay at their regular meeting. Braun said board members were concerned about the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma.

A special board meeting to vote on the delay will be noon Tuesday at the Education Service Center. 

The board was to have approved revisions to the 2020-2021 school year calendar to incorporate five virtual days into the school year. During those days, students would learn online from home. The board tabled action until the Tuesday meeting.

MPS will offer an all online E-learning Academy for families who do not want to send their children to school buildings this fall.

MPS Chief Operating Officer Lance Crawley said that, as of Thursday, a little more than 800 families had applied for E-learning.

“We’re starting to work with all those families to make sure they understand the commitment and that that is what they want,” Crawley said. “Some of those may be transfers from other districts.”

Crawley said teachers will report to school Aug. 3-7. 

Workers are preparing schools for the teachers return, he said.

New Tech at Alice Robertson is prepared for nearly 150 to 200 Tony Goetz Elementary students. Crawley said the building will house students in third through fifth grades while Tony Goetz is being rebuilt. He said he expects 50 to 75 students in each grade.

They will be attending the school amid construction of a new Freshman Academy at Alice Robertson. The former Alice Robertson Junior High was demolished.

“Other than traffic flow issues, New Tech is ready to go” for the Tony Goetz students, Crawley said. “For 10 months, they will be surrounded by an active construction site.”

On Friday, a safety fence surrounded New Tech while contractors worked on reconstructing the AR sewer system.

Crawley said a safety fence surrounding the entire AR construction site will be moved as work continues. Freshman Academy construction is scheduled to be completed in August 2021.

Younger Tony Goetz students will attend Whittier Elementary for the 2021 school year.

If you go

WHAT: Special Meeting, Muskogee Board of Education.

WHEN: Noon Tuesday.

WHERE: Muskogee Education Service Center, 202 W. Broadway.

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