OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma State Department Department of Education on Thursday approved Saturday classes in case of another surge of coronavirus cases.
The board approved a plan starting in the fall in which Saturday classes will be counted toward minimum attendance requirements, which is currently prohibited by state law.
Health officials have warned of a possible second surge of coronavirus cases and state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has said she wants schools to prepare multiple calendars for the fall, in case of another outbreak.
Oklahoma schools canceled in-person classes and moved to distance learning in mid-March as the virus spread in the state.
Four Oklahoma tribes are being awarded a total of nearly $1.2 million to combat the coronavirus.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration on Thursday announced the awards.
They include $300,000 to both the Cherokee Nation and the Cheyenne and Arapho Tribes, more than $299,000 to the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma and more than $295,000 to the Chickasaw Nation.
The funding can be used by the tribes to acquire personal protective equipment; pay for overtime and hazardous duties; building infrastructure; increase testing and the isolation of suspected COVID-19 patients; purchase mobile clinics or vehicles for transporting COVID-19 patients; and provide educational resources to help slow the spread of the virus.
The Oklahoma Department of Health reported the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 41 in Oklahoma on Thursday with four additional deaths.
The department reported at least 6,270 cases and 326 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, up from 6,229 cases and 322 deaths reported Wednesday.
The department reported at least 5,236 people with the virus have recovered.
The case count is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.