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Josh Brock, Epic Charter School’s CFO, is seen at a board meeting on Oct. 16, 2019.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A group of Republican lawmakers are calling for an investigative audit of Oklahoma’s State Department of Education in the wake of state auditor Cindy Byrd’s explosive report about Epic Charter Schools.

The Oklahoma County Budget Board meets on November 10, 2020.
Screen capture

The budget board that reviews spending items for Oklahoma County’s board of commissioners wants the county to take back more than $25 million in federal coronavirus relief funds it originally transferred to its jail trust.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

As intensive care units run out of capacity and hospital administrators ring alarm bells, the Stitt administration has maintained that hospital capacity is not under threat, and that messaging otherwise is a tactic to scare Oklahomans.

Samples are prepared for coronavirus testing at IMMY lab in Norman on April 2.
Provided

Without congressional action, Oklahoma’s coronavirus testing could soon dwindle.

With his face mask down around his neck, Stitt encouraged Oklahomans to wear a face mask, but said that he will not consider placing a face mask mandate on Oklahoma.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Continued growth in Oklahoma’s coronavirus cases have led to a heightened push for statewide mask mandates, but public health officials say that’s not likely.

ocde.us

For the past several days, Oklahoma’s coronavirus hospitalizations have surpassed 1,000, and its statewide ICU capacity has dropped below 10 percent. StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney has the latest on what officials are doing to address the worsening COVID-19 situation.

The Oklahoma County Jail.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

The Oklahoma County Jail Trust voted Monday to send back more than half of the $40 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated to its budget earlier this year. The move comes after months of protests against the relief funds being transferred to the jail.

Oklahoma State Reformatory is a minimum security prison that houses over a thousand male inmates.
Bill Broiles / Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections intends to stop reducing prisoners’ sentences in exchange for good behavior and their participation in programs designed to help them restart their lives after prison.

Early Ice Storm Creates Unique Challenges For Oklahoma Health Care Providers

Oct 29, 2020
OG&E Crews Work To Restore Power After October Ice Storm
Twitter / OG&E

The abnormally early ice storm that left hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans without power is creating unique hardships for the state’s health care providers.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health building in Oklahoma City.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s plan to move the state public health laboratory is getting more criticism. A national lab association is raising concerns about the interim facility and uprooting the lab during a pandemic.

ACT Scores Continue To Decline In Oklahoma

Oct 20, 2020

Oklahoma's ACT scores are continuing to decline. Recently released numbers from the tester show the state’s average score fell for the second straight year.

An Epic advertisement at an Oklahoma City mall.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board started the process to end its contract and support for Epic Virtual Charter Schools Tuesday afternoon.

 

State Board Of Education Demands Epic Virtual Charter Schools Return $11.2 Million

Oct 12, 2020
A sign is seen outside of 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City where Epic Charter Schools leases 40,000 square feet for administrative use.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Monday was not a good day for Epic Virtual Charter Schools.

The virtual charter behemoth is facing fresh scrutiny from Oklahoma leaders in the wake of an investigative audit report that says they owe millions of dollars to the state.

 

Oklahoma is finally getting a new public health lab, but it won’t be in Oklahoma City.

A backhoe digs deeper into the excavation site as work continues on an excavation of a potential unmarked mass grave from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, at Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Okla., Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

The City of Tulsa announced a second search for the remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre will start in October at Oaklawn Cemetery. 

Oklahoma City, Tulsa School Districts Lay Out Their Plans For Coming Back In Person

Oct 6, 2020
Pre-K teacher Elvia Walters heads out the door with a bag with school supplies and an iPad for one of her students Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, at Eugene Field Elementary School, in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The youngest kids will come back first.

In separate plans laid out to their respective school boards Monday night, superintendents for Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools announced plans to bring students back for in person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Oklahoma County Jail.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

The Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners voted Monday to make the local jail support and house ICE. The decision is in direct contradiction with a county jail trust decision to remove an ICE agent from the jail.

Samples are prepared for coronavirus testing at IMMY lab in Norman on April 2.
Provided

A few weeks after Oklahoma’s coronavirus case counts began trending back up, hospitalizations have followed.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

A long-awaited report from Oklahoma State Auditor Cindy Byrd on Epic Charter Schools was released Thursday. Byrd found a litany of problems in her investigation of the school that’s faced legal scrutiny for years.

Teacher Testing Becoming Available Across Oklahoma

Oct 1, 2020
https://sde.ok.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/2020SEP18%20-%20Teacher%20Testing.pdf

Oklahoma’s State Department of Health has begun a program to provide free COVID-19 testing for school teachers across the state.

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