Gov. Stitt and state leaders change COVID-10 quarantine guidelines for schools

River Valley News

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Many are educators are concerned about school quarantine policies in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced back in November it is implementing an optional short-term policy change for schools with students who have been exposed to COVID-19.

“We feel confident that it’s a win for the schools who choose to adopt it,” said Dr. Jared Taylor, Interim State Epidemiologist.

That short-term policy ended in December.

There are some guidelines the schools must follow, including a designated area to house the quarantined students in a socially distanced environment that is away from contact of non-quarantined students and staff. Quarantined students have to stay in that space at all times during the school day, except for restroom breaks and outside time. Quarantined students will be tested repeatedly throughout the quarantine and schools must be able to supervise the students.

KFOR reported recently that Mustang Schools was the first district to institute the new policy, but one of the high school teachers said he doesn’t feel it’s safe for anyone involved.

“The teacher side of me was like, ‘no,’” said Mustang High School teacher Mark Webb.

That was his reaction upon hearing the new plan to quarantine students who have been exposed to COVID-19 together in a section or classroom of the school.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Heath Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye, and Secretary of Education Ryan Walters announced new school quarantine guidelines on Tuesday afternoon.

Stitt made it clear he thinks schools should be open in Oklahoma.

The new policy states if student or teacher is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 won’t have to quarantine. This policy applies if it happened while in a classroom setting, everyone was masked, and following other safety protocols like social distancing.

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