While writing this recent story about breakthrough COVID-19 cases among Oklahoma teachers, there were data points I struggled to find. What percentage of teachers are vaccinated? And what percentage of teachers have had COVID-19? My story lay at the intersection of the two, but I couldn’t find good data to point to either one.

There’s now some data on one of those questions from a recent poll by the Oklahoma Education Association, which counts nearly 40,000 members in various education roles across the state. They surveyed their members from Sept. 1-26 and received 815 valid responses. Most of the respondents are teachers. Among the findings:

• More than a quarter, or 27%, of respondents have contracted COVID-19.

• 98% said they personally know someone who has had COVID-19, and a third (34%) know someone who has died from it.

• 94% said a student in their building has had COVID-19 this school year.

• 82% said an education employee in their building has had COVID-19 this school year.

Fortunately for everybody, the latest wave of coronavirus cases has been declining since late August and schools, for the most part, have been able to carry on in-person. Fingers crossed that trend continues.

In other education news, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister is running for governor. Her announcement made waves last week as she announced she’s challenging Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is running for a second term, AND changing parties to run as a Democrat in the 2022 race. My colleague Trevor Brown and I will be teaming up to cover this important election, and we welcome your thoughts. As always, email and DMs open. Have a great week.

— Jennifer Palmer

What I’m Reading

  • Hofmeister will flip parties and run for governor. [Tulsa World]
  • Western Heights school district has reached a contract agreement with its union after a two-year impasse. [The Oklahoman]
  • States are spending COVID relief funds on tutoring, student mental health and teacher recruitment and retention. [The 74]
  • Parents are sneaking an air quality monitor into their kids’ backpacks. [The New York Times]
  • White students are much more likely to graduate from a public college than black students. [The Hechinger Report]

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