For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
[email protected]

Education Secretary Hides Head in the Sand – Ignores COVID Omicron Threat to Students

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, JANUARY 14, 2022 – Stitt’s Education Secretary, Ryan Walters’ comments about school closures due to COVID are insensitive and entirely out of touch with what students, teachers, and administrations are facing with drastically increased COVID cases and reduced staff.

“How can someone responsible for overseeing the quality of our education system demonstrate such a level of disconnect and lack of compassion from what our schools are facing. Our vulnerable children are exposed to this aggressive virus without a mask mandate while only 11% of children aged between 5 and 11 are vaccinated,” stated Alicia Andrews, the Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair.

“Walters is shaming school administrators for reacting out of fear when the reality is there aren’t enough teachers to teach in person nor staff to run schools. This new, more aggressive variant is taking its toll on schools’ ability to remain open as the virus spreads quickly throughout the classrooms. Walters is incapable of recognizing this factual issue.

The failure of our governor and leadership has created the mess we are in now. Suppose Walters cares so much about keeping our children in school and school doors open. Why is he not advocating for mandatory masks and publicly encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated? Instead, he’s blaming schools and hiding his head in the sand, ignoring his responsibilities to act as a leader,” continued Andrews.

“How many more Oklahoma children do we sacrifice for the sake of Republican politics and complacency? It’s outrageous to use our most vulnerable as political pawns to pander to a base and pretend that this virus isn’t serious enough to take action,” continued Andrews.

“As Republicans and Walters stand by doing nothing to address the school closing crisis, the Biden-Harris administration is moving forward to help our children and administrators keep schools open by sending 5 million no-cost point-of-care tests per month to schools. HHS and FEMA are working with states to ensure the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities have access to free and convenient testing. Our schools deserve action now, not shaming and blaming,” Andrews concluded.

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For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.