How students are affected during Oklahoma teachers’ walkout

National/World News
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Many Oklahoma schools are closed, but their students still can’t get away from standardized testing.

While teachers continue their standoff with Oklahoma lawmakers, high school students will see some of their schools open Tuesday so they can take the SATs.

But several school systems across Oklahoma — including those in Tulsa and Oklahoma City — remain closed due to the teachers’ walkout Tuesday. For the second week, Oklahoma teachers have swarmed the state Capitol pressuring legislators for more school funding.

In the absence of school, parents are having to find childcare plans. Community organizations are also trying to fill the gaps from serving meals for kids to planning children’s activities and services.

Here’s what students are doing amid the seventh day of the teachers walkout.

They’re still taking the SATs

Although class may not be in session, high school juniors will still take their SATs as scheduled on Tuesday, at some high schools which will open for the occasion.

The two largest school districts in Oklahoma — Oklahoma and Tulsa Public Schools — will open their high schools for the exams, provide bus transportation, and serve meals to test takers, local media reported.

They’re going to have to take state tests

Students will still have to take their state exams in the coming weeks — although the window of testing has been extended by the state’s Department of Education.

The Oklahoma School Testing Program, which is federally mandated, began April 2 and affects grades 3 through 8, as well as 11th graders for their science assessments.

Due to school closures affected by the walkout, the window of testing has been extended one week, the State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced Monday.

It’s “critical that districts have the maximum opportunity possible to meet both state and federal requirements. Federal law requires states to assess 95 percent of the student population. This extension hopefully will prevent jeopardizing of federal funding or incurring penalty,” she said in a statement.

Schools and other organizations are giving students meals

Since the walkout, several schools and community programs have offered breakfast and lunch for students.

Oklahoma City Public Schools is providing meals to its students at no cost to them throughout the walkout with buses dropping off the sack lunches at various locations, reported CNN affiliate KFOR.

“We still know kids go hungry, still out there wondering where is their next meal and we want to prevent that from happening,”Jeffrey Tamayo, a registered dietitian with the school system told the station last week.

Community organizations, food banks and churches are also stepping in to make sure kids don’t go hungry while they’re not in school.

Their parents are trying to find childcare and activities

The school closures have left some parents scrambling to find last-minute childcare, creating some hardships for parents juggling work and childcare plans.

“I have to figure out what to do with the kids because they’re not telling us anything. Around 4 or 5 p.m. each day I get a text from the district,” a single dad Brian Graham told the Oklahoman. “It’s really day by day. I had to be a little bit late to work every day this week. I know some single moms that are really getting some flak at work.”

Some have relied on family members to take care of the kids. Recreational departments, churches and other community organizations are offering childcare activities and extended services.

Sports to some extent continue

Students have continued to play sports despite school closures.

High schools in the Oklahoma City area are playing ball despite the teachers’ walkout, reported the Oklahoman. And some coaches who are protesting alongside their colleagues in the state Capitol, hustle back to attend team practices and games, the newspaper reported.

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