Sep 17, 2020 5:16 PM

Omaha public schools to start in-person classes next week

Posted Sep 17, 2020 5:16 PM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Students in Nebraska's largest public school district will begin going back into the classroom next week for the first time since March, when the coronavirus outbreak sent students home to learn remotely.

Omaha Public Schools, which serves about 53,000 students, announced in an email this week that some schools will open to in-person classes starting Wednesday, the Omaha World-Herald reported. That follows Superintendent Cheryl Logan's goal to get most students in school at least part time by Oct. 19, which is the start of the second quarter.

In-person classes five days a week will begin for elementary special education, hearing impaired and alternate curriculum students on Wednesday. Elementary and middle schools will begin part-time, staggered in-person classes starting Oct. 5, and high schools will follow with the same part-time schedule on Oct. 19.

Remote learning will continue to be an option for families who do not feel comfortable sending students back to physical schools.

The district will proceed with winter sports and activities that begin in November and still plans to play fall sports in the spring. But district officials warn that if a large number of COVID-19 cases break out, sports and activities would be suspended and students will go back to remote learning from home.

The district's plan comes as new cases and COVID-19 deaths have risen in recent weeks. The average daily new cases in Nebraska has risen to 356 in the last seven days from an average of nearly 318 per day the week prior, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 tracking project. The average of new deaths rose to more than four per day in the last seven days, compared with more than two per day the week prior.

The state's online virus track shows 39,419 confirmed cases and 439 deaths since the start of the outbreak.